BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Hashtag domestic abuse and hashtag stop human trafficking have swept across Tik Tok and chances are you’ve seen a few of these videos where a victim uses a hand signal to call for help.
Thumb in fingers over it and a repeated hand motion many are calling this the international sign for help.
“I think it’s great. I think the more conversations that we’re able to have about violence whether it's domestic violence or other things. And the more signs that we can help to or have to help each other the better it is,” said Alyssa Olivera, Prevention Education Services Supervisor for Kern Alliance Against Domestic Abuse.
Olivera said that having signals in your personal life with friends or family can also save your life.
“Have code words with the folks in your life it doesn’t have to be a single thing that every knows is a sign for something,” said Olivera.
Domestic violence is an issue for Kern County.
“For the fiscal year of 2019-2020 we saw in total over 2400 folk and over 1900 of those were domestic violence specifically so really big problem throughout the county,” said Olivera.
Olivera said domestic violence isn't only physical.
“We pretty much have this idea that violence is physical that if I’m not getting hit then it's not abuse. It’s something else but we know domestic violence can be a whole myriad of things,” said Olivera.
Types of abuse that fall under domestic violence
- Physical abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological abuse
“Anyone that expresses extreme jealousy immediate red flag. This is very possessive, and these are not healthy things for somebody to be doing any forms of isolation that one is huge,” said Olivera.
Olivera said she understand it is not always easy to leave.
“When you’re ready we’re here we do so folks that come in start seeking services go back come back to us several times our doors are always open to people,” said Olivera.
The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault's main goal is to stop domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County. They assist survivors in reclaiming their lives. Their purpose is to provide expertise in dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault and ensure the safety and well-being of victims and their children by providing services that address their individual needs and prepare them for self-sufficiency.
“We have a variety of things so we have general case management so we can assist with advocacy, a restraining order, assistance accompaniment to the hospital or with making a report to law enforcement,” said Olivera.
In addition to these services, they assist with counseling for people who experience sexual assault domestic violence, or human trafficking.
Olivera said the one thing she wants people to remember is that the alliance is just one phone call away and that their hotline is 24 hours.
She added that she understands that it can be hard to walk away from a domestic abuse situation and in many cases, it takes people up to seven times to break away, but she said the alliance will be there for you each time.
Olivera said sometimes people are not sure if they are in a domestic abuse situation but that is what they are here for.