BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and 23ABC spoke with the CEO of The Open Door Network to learn more about the importance of domestic violence awareness and how people can help and support victims and survivors. This month has brought awareness to community organizations and efforts to stop domestic violence since 1989.
This is also a time to recognizes survivors and advocate for change. Lauren Skidmore, CEO of The Open Door Network, says domestic violence affects all people regardless of age, income, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.
It may be surprising to some how often this type of violence happens. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network says that every minute, around 20 people are physically abused by their partners. This amounts to 10 million victims of domestic violence in a year.
One in three woman and one in four men have experienced some type of domestic abuse, while one in five women and one in seven men have suffered serious physical injuries from abuse by a partner.
Oftentimes, domestic abuse victims are emotionally abused by the offender, whose goal is to assert and maintain control over their victim. This type of crime can result in physical, emotional, and psychological trauma, even death.
Domestic violence affects everyone in a household, especially children. Skidmore says each year, local law enforcement receives over 9,000 calls involving domestic violence. The Open Door Network supports over 1,400 victims annually.
“So this is a really common, reoccurring traumatic event and we want folks to know that anybody in their family, any one of their friends could be enduring this and to just openly keep yourself available for those people talk about it,” Skidmore said. “And then know you can always reach out to us. We are here to support anyone and everyone.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence, Skidmore says there are resources here in the community to help. The Open Door Network has an emergency domestic violence shelter and transitional housing resources, as well as therapists and counselors to help those affected. The nonprofit also operates an emergency hotline at 327-1091.
There’s also help available online if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website offers a number of resources, like safe browsing practices to block an abuser that monitors their victim’s online activity.
The website also has information for victims about how to create a safety plan, including what items you should have packed and ready to go in case you and your children need to leave a living situation immediately, a list of emergency contacts with addresses, and safe escape routes from a residence. You can also reach out by calling 1-800-799-SAFE or by texting 88788.