October is Domestic/Partner Violence Awareness Month. As part of this months’ events, gate guards will hand out resource cards at Fort Bragg Access Control Points on Friday.
One side of the card provides important local and national numbers to find help for partner abuse or relationship issues. The other side lists safety tips to escape an abusive relationship.
The Fort Bragg Family Advocacy Program asks that the community study the card and keep it handy in case they ever encounter someone who you think might be going through partner abuse.
Tips if you see or suspect partner abuse
When we overhear or see something that doesn’t feel right, it can be difficult to know how to react.
So, here are some tips and suggestions from the National Domestic Violence Hotline Website on what you might do to intervene and interrupt that violence.
If you witness abuse in public, it’s important to take into account your own safety as well as the survivor’s.
There is safety in numbers, so gathering a group of people to stand nearby and either verbally or physically intervene is one option. Contacting the authorities is another option.
You might even record the incident with your phone to pass to law enforcement if the survivor chooses to press charges (keep in mind, however, that some survivors choose not to take legal action).
If you’re hearing suspicious noises from your neighbors, one option is to speak with the survivor in person the next day. You might greet them with a question like, “Hey, I heard some stuff last night. Are you okay?” Make sure to approach them in a safe, private space, listen to them carefully and believe what they have to say. Never blame them or ask what they did to “provoke” their partner. Let them know the abuse isn’t their fault, and that they deserve support. You might give them The National Domestic Violence Hotline’s contact information or direct them to a local crisis line (322-3418). If you are ever concerned for the survivor’s immediate safety, or your own, you do have the right to contact the police. If the survivor decides to press charges against the abusive partner, your statement can be one way to help them document what they’ve experienced.