CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the 17th through the 23rd is specifically known as a “week of action.” Multiple local agencies are shedding light on their initiatives to help victims of domestic abuse and violence.
“One in four women and one in nine men become victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Those numbers are staggering,” said retired Stillwater Police Chief Ray Cordani.
Cordani started a program in 2003 in which the Stillwater Police Department, along with the help of local businesses, collect donated cell phones to be turned over each year to advocacy groups that help victims of domestic violence.
Cordani was joined by representatives from the advocacy groups, elected officials, and members of law enforcement Monday at a press conference to thank the businesses that helped collect the phones and discuss the impact of domestic violence in the community.
Victims not only need cell phones because their abusers may cut off their landline phone, but also because of what’s become known as “digital abuse.” According to experts like Amanda Anderson, Director of Fulton County’s Domestic Violence Program, it’s become more prevalent in recent years. Abusers will often use cell phones as a way to track, harass, and stalk victims, and may even weaponize ownership of their phone plan.
“They may utilize that as a tool of power and control over them,” Anderson told NEWS10, “of, ‘if you don’t do this, I’ll shut your phone off and you won’t be able to reach out to anybody. You won’t be able to contact anyone.'”
Anderson and the team at the Family Counseling Center of Fulton County are using this week to bring extra awareness to the signs that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, including what’s become known as ‘love bombing.” Jennifer Jennings, the Center’s Director of Marketing and Fund Development described ‘love bombing’ as the abuser using excessive affection and attention to make the recipient feel dependent.
“When the things start happening, the picking on you, the telling you you’re not worthy, the telling you that you do things wrong and you can’t live without them,” Jennings explained, “you go, ‘oh but my partner was so wonderful, we just are going through a rough patch. We have to get back to that.’ And that’s really where people get caught in the cycle.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, help is available.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.7233