With the pandemic causing a surge in reported domestic violence cases, it's more important than ever to raise awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Many more people are at home for work, school and to reduce exposure to the virus. This has amplified the danger for those who were already in a domestic violence situation. Plus, the increased stress has stretched some tempers thin and put strain on relationships, leading to new cases of abuse and isolation.

Warning signs of abuse

While some victims of domestic violence experience mild abuse, some cases can lead to serious injury or death of the victim.

Here are some of the most common signs of abuse:

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends time spent away from them.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.

It's important to recognize the warning signs, either in your own situation or in someone else's, to prevent serious injuries. It is not always easy to predict when a serious incident will occur, so taking steps to leave an abusive situation early is important.

Who can be a victim of domestic violence?

Anyone can be a victim of abuse, regardless of gender, age, sexuality, race, economic status, ability, citizenship status or any other factor or identity.

Likewise, the perpetrator of the abuse could be anyone, even someone you know very well and might never expect.

Abusers are often someone whom the victim deeply cares about, which makes it extremely difficult to leave the situation in some cases. That's why it's important to always be alert and suspicious if some of the warning signs start appear.

Abuse is any form of behavior that physically harms, intimidates, manipulates or controls a partner, or otherwise forces them to behave in ways they don't want to, including through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse or financial control. Multiple forms of abuse can often be present at the same time. (Source: www.thehotline.org)

Create a safety plan

It's important to create a safety plan in case of an emergency. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Resources for help

In an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately.

The Domestic Violence hotline is available 24/7, 365 days a year: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

You can also live chat with someone at TheHotline.org by clicking here.

Calling RAINN will connect you to the nearest sexual assault service provider, but they also have a national online hotline that allows you to instant message with an advocate at a national center. 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Peak Wellness Center hosts a 24/7 crisis line for mental health emergencies. Call this toll-free number at any time: 844-895-PEAK (7325)

Wyoming 2-1-1 can also help connect you to the appropriate agency.

 

Many local resources exist, too. Here are resources in our area:

 

Cheyenne --
Safehouse Services: 307-634-8655
Comea Shelter: 307-632-3174
Family Promise of Cheyenne: 307-772-8770

Laramie --
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 307-755-5481
SAFE Project: 307-742-7273
University of Wyoming Stop Violence Program: 307-766-3296

Wheatland --
Project SAFE - 307-322-4794

Torrington --
Goshen County Task Force on Family Violence: 307-532-2118

Fort Collins --
Crossroads Safehouse: 970-482-3502, or toll-free at 888-541-7233
Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center -- 970-472-4200