Prosecutor

David Sutter

Domestic violence damages victims physically and emotionally and its effects are long lasting. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for greater understanding of this issue and to remember victims of abuse.

In the more than 30 years since this DVAM was launched in 1987, awareness and understanding of domestic violence has increased. Still more needs to be done to end this damaging cycle.

The statistics involving domestic violence are sobering. In Indiana, 40.4% of women and 26.8% of men experience intimate partner physical violence, partner sexual violence and/or partner stalking in their lifetime.

“Domestic violence is a big problem in our community, state and nation,” said Prosecutor Sutter. “Domestic violence disrupts lives and can have a significant negative impact on mental stability.”

Domestic violence is most commonly associated with physical violence. However, there are many other types of abuse that are considered domestic violence. These include:

• Sexual violence

• Emotional violence

• Psychological violence

• Spiritual violence

• Cultural violence

• Verbal abuse

• Financial abuse.

“It’s important to recognize that domestic violence leaves marks; those inflicted by physical violence leave visible injuries but all types of domestic abuse leave scars, even if they aren’t visible,” said Sutter.

The first step in addressing domestic violence is knowing the signs. According to domesticshelters.org, here are common red flags:

• Being jealous of your friends or time spent away

• Discouraging you from spending time away from your partner

• Embarrassing or shaming you

• Controlling financial decisions

• Making you feel guilty for all the relationship problems

• Preventing you from working

• Intentionally damaging your property

• Threatening violence against you, your pets or someone you love to gain compliance

• Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to

• Intimidating you physically, especially with weapons

Here are steps you can take to help stop domestic violence in your community:

• Know the signs. Domestic violence can happen to anyone and affects all ages, races and income/education levels

• Don’t ignore domestic violence out of a desire to not get involved

• Lend an ear; listen without judgment

• Be available and ready to help

• Know the number to a nearby shelter

• Check in regularly if a loved one or friend is experiencing domestic violence

• Be a resource; do the legwork regarding an escape plan and how to set up necessities

for someone considering leaving a relationship

• Write it down; document incidents in detail

“Domestic violence takes many forms, and we can only address this problem through ongoing education and a willingness to help,” said Sutter. “Nobody should live in fear.”

Free, confidential help is available 24/7 from the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or by texting “START” to 88788. You may also reach out to Safe Passage Inc. They provide a 24/7 Toll-Free Helpline 1-877-733-1990 to provide help, healing, and hope for our community.

David Sutter is the the Jefferson County Prosecutor. He can be reached at 812-265-8932.