KENNEWICK, WA – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and local violence services get about 200 calls a month on their 24-hour crisis line.
Staff with the Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties said they provide services for over 3,000 people right here in our community.
No one is immune from domestic violence.
“It hits every socially economic level, every race, every ethnicity, every gender. So, you never know what someone next to you is experiencing and it is just important to kind and kind of be aware. That’s the whole point. Be aware because there is help,” Diana Izaguirre, the development director with the Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties, said.
75% of victims of domestic violence are females. Some of the biggest questions are so, why doesn’t she leave.
“And it is really important to understand that the most dangerous time for a woman leaving domestic violence is when she decides to leave. That is when they will usually get murdered or injured,” she said.
Domestic violence comes in all forms from physical and emotional to financial and verbal abuse. Diana with the domestic violence services of Benton and Franklin counties said many women who are able to leave, do so with nothing but the clothes on their back and that is why the domestic services are here to provide resources.
“That shouldn’t be an issue. That shouldn’t be a barrier for someone to leave a dangerous situation,” she said.
But what do you do? Have a safety plan is key. You can call and they help you think through things including the best and safest way to leave.
“Because every domestic violence situation is different. Safety plans are personalized for the person that calls. So, if someone is ready to leave. We will help them to figure out when would be the best time to leave. How to leave with their children? What medications do they need to remember to pack? Who can they trust? Who can they call to go to their home and to bring them to our shelter?” she said.
For someone who is not ready to leave.
“What to do when things escalate? Don’t be in the kitchen or anywhere there are knives or weapons. When that argument erupts, who are you going to call? What kind of signal are you going have to let other people know that you need help?” she said.
So how do we help stop domestic violence? The most important thing you can do is break the silence.
“We have to raise awareness and make it known that domestic violence, intimate partner violence is not o.k. and when we suspect that maybe someone is going through something difficult reach out,” she said.
It can be something as simple as, “How are you? Is there anything I can do to help you?” But mainly, lending them a hand.
“If you get approached by someone and it feels like they are going to tell you something. It might be hard to listen and hear that story. Then it is like what do I do about it. The main thing is to believe them, the main thing is to listen to them and be ready to share some resources to share with them,” she said.
Like their office, where you can call domestic violence services and get more information. If you are surviving with domestic violence or not even sure what you are experiencing is domestic violence, you are not alone.
“There are people that want to help. There are people that have been through it and you deserve a healthy, happy life and we are here to help you get that,” she said.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are not sure what you are experiencing is domestic violence if you feel like things are escalating, you can call the Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties at their officer at 509-735-1295 or going to their website.
All their services are free.
On October 21, staff at the DVSBF are calling it “Purple Thursday.” You are encouraged to wear purple to let survivors know that they are not alone.
On October 23, they are also having their annual vital. It will be held at Volunteer Park in Pasco. It is a silent witness project where they will have life-size red silhouettes to represent Benton and Franklin County residents that have lost their life due to domestic violence. This is a way to remember their names, their stories and honor them.
Source: NBC Right Now