ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner according to the CDC. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige spoke with an expert who explained that domestic abuse isn’t only about the physical and what services are available.
“Domestic violence happens to everyone, it doesn’t matter what your socio and economic status is, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you were raised or what kind of relationship you were in, it can happen to anybody and there is help,” said Amanda Anderson, Director of the Domestic Violence Program at The Family Counseling Center, an outpatient mental health facility serving 4500 clients a year.
“Something that people don’t often look at as domestic abuse or domestic violence is the is the emotional or psychological side of it. The constant bullying, put downs, harassment, name-calling making someone feel less than. Domestic abuse is really about power and control; it’s not always about the physical aspect of it which generally comes to mind,” said Anderson. She also explained that there are usually eight incidents of abuse before someone reaches out for help. This could be due to what they call, “a cycle of abuse.” For those experiencing domestic violence the relationship tends to start off in a happy place, which doesn’t last too long.
“Little things start to happen and whether its name calling and whether its a physical assault or a smack here and there and then it gets worse,” explained Anderson. She says it usually takes a major physical assault, extreme verbal abuse or stalking before a victim feels like something is off. Soon enough the victim’s partner will apologize, things remain positive for a little while until the cycle happens all over again.
Anderson says victims of domestic violence are allowed to come and go to the center as they please, “A big thing with the domestic violence program is we don’t want to be controlling as their abuser has controlled them…We don’t do outreach unless they request outreach from us because we don’t wanna put them in that same situation.”
Almost every county in the state has a shelter and domestic violence program, and services are free. You can also contact the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233.