No-Cost and Confidential Women's Center

Did you know that, on average, 20 people in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner EVERY MINUTE? One in 4 women experiences severe physical violence by an intimate partner sometime in their lifetime.

Research shows intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crimes, including rape and murder. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 PERCENT. One in 10 women is raped by an intimate partner, according to another study.

These and other disturbing statistics about intimate partner violence (IPV) can be found here: https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS

Love is the Air

February is known as the Month of Love, with Valentine’s Day observed on February 14. However, love and violence are polar opposites. A lover is respectful. A lover honors, cherishes, and values another person. A lover puts the other’s interests and needs ahead of their own. Love is NOT violence – it is not hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, choking, or threatening. Violence is about control, not love.

Enjoying a healthy relationship is a wonderful aspect of life. How do you know, though, if your relationship is healthy or unhealthy, even toxic or abusive? LoveisRespect.com offers a guideline by which you can evaluate your romantic relationship.

COVID and IPV

During 2020 amid quarantines and lockdowns in the United States (and the world), violence in homes increased, often significantly. Stories, including from NPR and USA Today, showcased experts and reports that talked about the increased number of calls to hotlines and shelters as well as organizations reaching out to help abused women, children, and men. Job losses, school closures, and lack of social interactions plagued homes throughout the world, and those stresses coupled with isolation and health fears generated increased cases of intimate partner violence, “a pandemic within a pandemic,” according to some researchers.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers intimate partner violence “a significant public health issue that has many individual and societal costs.” These include many physical health risks, such as “conditions affecting the heart, digestive, reproduction, muscle and bones, and nervous systems, many of which are chronic.” Mental health is also impacted. “Survivors can experience mental health problems such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms,” according to the CDC.

What are Abuse and Control?

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), IPV doesn’t always start off in a violent manner. “Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, violence and control always intensify over time with an abuser, despite the apologies.” Whether name-calling, yelling, spewing put-downs, threatening family members and children, or brandishing a weapon, each incident is abuse, and therefore the relationship is unhealthy. “Lack of physical violence does not mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim, nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped by the abuse,” according to the NCADV.

Seek Help if Needed

If you’re in an unhealthy, toxic, or abusive relationship and you need help getting out, let someone know. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Contact the Victims Services Coordinator at the Casper Police Department (307) 235-8347) or at the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office (307) 235-9338). You can also contact Casper’s Self Help Center (307-235-2814) or the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) at 800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Also, consider reaching out to your local community resources that may be able to help.

Remember: you deserve respect and a healthy, loving relationship.

You are capable
of more than you know.