OUR VIEW: Do your part to stop domestic violence

Published 9:30 am Saturday, April 16, 2022

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In case you missed it, in Friday’s newspaper we published a story on Harmony House, Troup County’s local domestic violence shelter, and how it’s been impacted the last few years due to COVID-19.

Calls are down, but unfortunately, that’s probably not due to there being less domestic violence in our community. More than likely, as executive director Michele Bedingfield discussed, the pandemic made it more difficult for people to get away from their abuser.

The call numbers are starting to rise again, based on what Harmony House saw in 2021.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, close to 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States and one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some type of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

And although we probably all try not to think about it, domestic violence occurs in our community too. Harmony House’s numbers reflect that.

So, how do you help?

The best way is to be open to talking to your friends about any problems they are having. Look for signs that might indicate abuse, such as clothing that might be used to cover up bruises or a personality change where the person might have become quiet or withdrawn.

Warning signs can include a black eye, busted lips, sprained wrists, bruises on the arm, being overly apologetic, anxiety, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, etc.

Sometimes people can be shocked to hear of these sort of problems, but the victim is often the only person who sees the abuser act this way. Be there and lend an ear. Be supportive.

If you actively see abuse, call 9-1-1.

You can also donate to Harmony House by logging onto their website, www.harmonyhousega.org. Harmony House’s 24-hour crisis line is at available at (706) 885-1525.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233.