October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a prevalent issue in Utah, where rates of domestic violence are higher than the national average.
Josie White, Development Director of South Valley Services, came on the Utah Stories podcast to discuss this extremely important topic.
“When we bring awareness to these issues we can start having the conversations about what it looks like, what to do if someone you know is experiencing it, and also how to help,” White said.
Domestic Violence Month is an important time to talk about what abuse looks like in relationships. Abuse is about maintaining power and control, and comes in many forms; physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual, and economic.
On the other hand, it’s important to discuss what healthy relationships look like. “Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect,” White said. “There should be a friendship present, and shared decision making.”
The question that comes up when thinking of friends experiencing domestic violence is: how do you help them? “Even if someone denies it, the best thing to say is, ‘If you ever need to talk, know that I’m always going to be a resource for you,’” White said.
It takes an average of seven times for somebody to leave an abusive relationship for good. That’s why it’s important to not shame victims, that’s why it’s so important to let loved ones who are experiencing domestic violence know that you are in their corner.
Supporting survivors during this month is always extremely important. Being in an abusive relationship can strip you of your self worth and confidence. Knowing that even a stranger supports you is an amazing feeling.
“I get to see clients demonstrating unthinkable strength, resilience, and courage,” White said.
South Valley Services runs two shelters; one in Tooele County and one in Salt Lake County. Both shelters provide community-based services such as case management and therapy, and prevention and education. The center also provides 24/7 helplines.
October 19th is Wear Purple Day and is dedicated to raising domestic violence awareness. Instead of hosting an event, SVS is focused on education and spreading awareness of domestic violence. SVS on social media is a great tool to connect people to the support they need and tell their important stories. Tag us @svs.utah on Instagram for the chance for your “why” to be shared.