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Violence and Valentine's Day

battle woman campus violence intimate partner violence intuition personal safety safety safety tips women supporting women Feb 14, 2024

It's Valentine's Day!  A day typically celebrated with love and affection, can also be a challenging time for many individuals, particularly survivors of violence. Valentine's Day can surface painful memories, prompting survivors to experience flashbacks and re-live trauma. It can even be dangerous if an ex-partner decides to make contact.

Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

The CDC defines IPV as abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners.

Facts from the CDC:

  • About 41% of women and 26% of men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported an intimate partner violence-related impact during their lifetime.
  • Over 61 million women and 53 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 
  • About 16 million women and 11 million men who reported experiencing intimate partner violence in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.
    This is called Teen Dating Violence (TDV)

If you think someone you know is experiencing abuse, here's how you can help:

  • Start a conversation –  Be patient, non-judgmental and open.
  • Be an Upstander, not a Bystander –  Extend and invitation to lunch or an activity that might make it easier for them to open up.
  • Listen without judgement – leaving an abusive relationship is hard. There are a lot of obstacles preventing someone from leaving and, these can seen unsurmountable. Listen and believe them.

While IPV is preventable, there is work to be done. In navigating this challenging day, consider a personal safety checklist for survivors or those currently experiencing abuse:

Personal Safety Checklist:

Safety Plan: Create a safety plan for emergencies that is flexible and adaptable. Know where to go and whom to contact for help. Keep an updated list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, domestic violence hotlines, and shelters, readily accessible.  Have a go bag ready, and cash if you need to leave quickly.

Avoid Triggers: Proactively identify and avoid situations, places, or activities that may trigger traumatic memories or negative emotions.

Self-Care: Prioritize activities that promote relaxation, comfort, and well-being. Schedule therapy sessions, meditation, exercise, or time with supportive loved ones.

Self-Awareness: Trust your instincts and intuition. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

Situational Awareness: Be observant and aware of your surroundings to reduce the chance of being taken off guard.

Distance and Boundaries: Set clear boundaries with current or former partners to ensure your emotional and physical well-being.

Stay Connected: Maintain connections with trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can offer support and assistance if needed.

Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with legal rights and available resources for survivors of violence, including restraining orders and legal protections.

Document Incidents: Keep a record of any incidents of violence, including dates, times, and descriptions, as evidence if needed for legal action or protective measures.

Seek Professional Help: Reach out to mental health professionals, counselors, or therapists specializing in trauma and domestic violence for support and guidance.

Your voice matters, your story matters, and your healing matters. You are worthy of love, respect, and happiness.   


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