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Domestic Violence; What to Know and Ways to Recover


Below are 5 must-know facts and resources if you or a loved one is dealing with domestic violence.


1. It is NOT your fault.

If someone is experiencing domestic violence they are NOT at fault. Many abusers make it seem like the victim is at fault for the situation but we want to remind you this is not the case. If you are experiencing domestic violence and your partner is trying to convince you that it is your fault you are not alone! This is a very common manipulation strategy.


Many individuals who experience domestic violence also think that their partner “can’t help it.” If you feel this way about your partner we encourage you to reframe your thinking. If an abuser is able to control their temper at work and not lash out or hit a difficult co-worker or their boss when they are upset then they can control themselves at home. Making their victim feel like they 'can’t help it' is just another manipulation tactic.


It is helpful to know the common signs of abuse, both inside a relationship and from an outside perspective. Knowing these can help ensure that you are being treated properly by your partner and may help you to pick up on common signs that someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence. Check out this resource to get familiar with those signs.


Not sure if a behavior or situation is abuse? Check out this quiz from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This quiz is quick, FREE, and CONFIDENTIAL.


2. Types of abuse

When thinking about domestic violence many people think of physical abuse. However, there are other forms of abuse that are just as common and harmful as physical abuse. Other types of abuse can include but are not limited to financial, emotional, sexual, verbal, etc. Check out this helpful resource called the Power and Control Wheel. It describes other common forms of abuse and gives examples of what that can look like.


3. Help is available

It is important to know that there is help available in your area if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence. Click here to check out the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCAVD). Here you will find a list of each county’s domestic violence center, information about their legal helpline, info on their 24-hour hotline (1-800-799-7233), and much more that can help individuals experiencing domestic violence.


4. The impact on children

Many couples stay together and try to work things out for the sake of their children. However, in homes where any type of domestic violence is occurring staying is often more harmful. According to psychologytoday.com; “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that in homes where violence between partners occurs, there is a 45% to 60% chance of co-occurring child abuse, a rate 15 times higher than the average. Even when they are not physically attacked, children witness 68% to 80% of domestic assaults. These numbers are a sobering reminder of the toll a violent environment takes on kids.”


The psychologytoday.com article goes on to say: "The circumstances of domestic violence leave caregivers emotionally and otherwise unavailable and unresponsive, and activate in kids a primal fear and a host of other raw, complex, and unresolved emotions. The pioneering psychiatrist and researcher Daniel Siegel (2004) instructed, “The psychological aftermath of exposure to domestic violence can include fear of harm or abandonment, excessive worry or sadness, guilt, inability to experience empathy or guilt, habitual lying, low frustration tolerance, emotional distancing, poor judgment, shame, and fear about the future. The attention given, emotions felt, and memories imprinted onto a child’s brain in moments of stress become inextricably linked together and forever taint—or else filter—feelings, beliefs, and choices in relationships and so many other facets of life. These children are not merely innocent bystanders. They are victims.”


To read more from this helpful article click here.


5. Learn more and get help!

If you've experienced domestic violence and worry about how that situation has affected your children, Drexel University has several new program offerings designed to support families exposed to domestic violence.


In March, you can attend an introductory webinar for parents focused on how to support your children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The talks will be offered at 4 different times so parents can select a session that works best for them. Host, family therapist Brianna Gentile, LMFT will give parents some general principles about child development and specific ideas of how to support children through hard times. Select from the following dates:​

  • March 7, 2022, 7-8 pm,

  • March 8, 2022, 12-1 pm,

  • March 14, 2022, 7-8 pm or

  • March 16, 2022, 12-1 pm.

Attend the talk by visiting https://www.preventsuicidepa.org/dv-talks/

Parents who would like more support can choose to attend a 4-session virtual parenting series. Parenting classes, for those who have experienced domestic violence, will be held within a group format, facilitated by family therapists.


Additionally, they are offering 6 weeks of virtual family therapy for parents who have experienced abuse and their children ages 10-24 who have been exposed to domestic violence.


We spoke with the host, Brianna Gentile, a licensed marriage and family therapist to learn more about the upcoming programs, "As a family therapist, I know how hard trauma can hit a family and how alone parents can feel when trying to put their family back together. In the talk, we will set some foundations for how to begin the healing process. Parents seeking more support can join our virtual four-session parenting support program."

All of these services are free.

Any questions, please contact Allie King at aak344@drexel.edu or 540-200-8470.


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