By District Attorney Shannon Wallace
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have reported sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. And over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, making this the perfect time to talk about a very difficult subject.
Domestic violence has most likely affected you or someone you know. For many years, violence within intimate relationships was kept behind closed doors and only considered to be “a family problem.” Fortunately, laws have started to change, making it harder for abusers to stay hidden. However, the dynamics of domestic violence have remained the same.
Often, intimate partner violence starts out as control and manipulation, steadily getting worse like a cancer slowly spreading, and the victim not recognizing how bad things are until it’s almost too late. For many reasons, victims choose to remain in these tumultuous relationships. For example, some hang on because it’s all they’ve ever known. Many believe it will stop, and this assault will be the last one. They don’t know how they will financially support themselves and their children. They fear the violence will get worse if they leave. They have religious beliefs that make it difficult to end a relationship, and the list goes on and on.
Some victims of domestic violence do not wish to proceed with criminal prosecution because the person who is hurting them is someone they care about. These cases are heartbreaking. However, without intervention, domestic violence often escalates, and typically, there are children involved.
The role of the District Attorney’s Office is to individually review every incident of domestic violence that comes into the office to find a resolution that protects victims and society and prevents future violence.
The DA’s office has a dedicated Domestic Violence Unit that specializes in prosecuting intimate partner violence, which enables victims to get the help they need. In 2018, this unit handled 106 total intimate partner cases in Cherokee County.
Domestic violence thrives in the dark. It takes a true act of bravery to break free from an abusive relationship and shed a light on this very real danger.
Where To Get Help
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, help is available.
1. Victims of domestic violence who are in imminent danger should call 911 immediately.
2. The Cherokee Family Violence Center offers services and housing in its Canton location. If housing is not available in Canton, CFVC will place families in a nearby location. CFVC.org. 24/7 Crisis Hotline 770-479-1703.
3. LiveSAFE Resources provides safety and healing to those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. The organization offers services, creates awareness, and fosters support within the community. LiveSAFEResources.org. 24/7 Crisis Hotline 770-427-3390.