Comment: Domestic violence, abuse is everyone’s concern

Reports of domestic violence have risen this year. Know what it looks like and how to get help.

By Vicci Hilty, Jon Nehring and Erik Scairpon / For The Herald

Domestic violence: It’s not a pleasant topic, but it’s an important one. In Marysville, police respond to an average of 85 domestic violence calls every month.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In Marysville, local community service agencies, volunteer organizations and the faith community are joining the City of Marysville, its Police Department and Fire District and Domestic Violence Services Snohomish County to help educate our community and let victims and families know that we care.

Abuse can take many forms. They all boil down to a person trying to gain control over a partner or family member. This certainly includes physical violence or forced sexual acts. Yet other examples of domestic violence may include psychological or emotional abuse, such as name calling, insults, threats, humiliation; or social or environmental abuse, including controlling major decisions and financesor limiting activities.

Some signs of abuse: Does the person blame you for their own faults or circumstances? Do they deny things that happened or cause you to question your sense of reality? Do they track or monitor where you go and who you see? Do they alienate or threaten to hurt your children, family or friends?

Many controlling behaviors fall within the spectrum of domestic violence.

In Marysville, the number of domestic violence cases in 2021 is up 11 percent from the same time last year. We’re not alone.

This is a crime that affects more than 4 million Americans each year, both women and men, of every race, religion, culture, status and income level. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence from an intimate partner. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive more than 20,000 calls nationally.

As victims suffer at the hands of a spouse or partner, the abuse affects their children, families, and entire communities. Children who grow up in violent homes are believed to be abused and neglected at a rate higher than the national average.

In Washington state, about 28 percent of women face stalking victimization in their lifetime. Intimate partners were responsible for 41 percent of abductions in Washington in 2014.

If your home is not affected by domestic violence, why should you care?

Domestic violence costs the nation billions of dollars annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters, foster care, sick leave, absenteeism and loss of productivity.

Even more compellingly, research found that 92 percent of domestic violence homicide victims in Washington state turned to friends or family for help before they were killed. That’s why all of us should care, and why we should understand the resources available to those in danger.

Domestic Violence Services, a non-profit organization serving Snohomish County since 1976, provides emergency shelter and comprehensive, confidential services to all victims of domestic abuse, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 425-25-ABUSE.

We are grateful for, yet not surprised by, the support of many community partners who are coming together in Marysville to “paint the town purple” for domestic violence awareness. Among them are the Marysville Fire District, The Center at North Marysville, Soroptimist International of Marysville, Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Club of Marysville, Marysville Community Food Bank and the Marysville Area Pastors Association.

Please join us to help #BreakTheSilence. Learn more about domestic violence and resources available for victims and families at dvs-snoco.org/.

Vicci Hilty is CEO of Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. Jon Nehring is mayor of Marysville. Erik Scairpon is the police chief of Marysville.

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