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COLUMN: National observance puts focus on partner violence

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JOSEPH HOGSETT
GUEST COLUMNIST

I ask that we all pause and reflect on October’s designation as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Despite the important progress of the last two decades, there is much work to be done. The statistics are sobering: One in four women will face domestic violence over the course of their lives. Four million women will experience physical assaults and rapes because of their partners. One in three women who is a homicide victim is murdered by their current or former partner. It is important to remember that domestic violence includes not only physical abuse, but also emotional or economic abuse – any behavior that intimidates, manipulates or threatens another.
The United States attorney’s office is committed to doing our part to help decrease domestic violence throughout Indiana. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has provided national leadership while strengthening our local resources. Just this year, nearly $450 million has been directed to support and fund communities in their efforts to combat violence against women.
You may be a victim of domestic violence if your spouse:
• Accuses you of cheating or being disloyal
• Makes you feel worthless
• Hurts you by hitting, choking or kicking
• Intimidates and threatens to hurt you or someone you love
• Tries to control what you do, who you see or isolates you.
• Pressures or forces you into unwanted sex
• Controls your access to money
• Stalks you, including calling you constantly or following you.
Ultimately, this is a problem that requires all of us to work together. That’s why I ask that you take a moment this week to talk to your friends and family about this issue and ask what we can do to collectively reduce domestic violence in our state.
Whether you are able to volunteer with a local organization or reach out to someone in your life who may need support, let this month serve as a reminder of the responsibility we all have toward our fellow Hoosiers.
Finally, I would encourage anyone experiencing domestic violence to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).
Established in 1996 through the Violence Against Women Act, this invaluable resource provides crisis intervention counseling, information on crime victim compensation and referrals to those facing domestic violence. It is toll-free, confidential and anonymous.
Hogsett is the United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.