Everyone has the right to be safe

EDITOR’S?NOTE: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Clinton County Women’s Center interns from Lock Haven University have written articles, which will be published each Sunday in the Lifestyle section during the month of October, to raise awareness about domestic violence.)

Many of us think of home as a safe and warm place. It’s a place where we can be ourselves and not worry about the outside world. Unfortunately for some, it can be anything but. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that includes physical, sexual and psychological harm as well as economic coercion.

Domestic violence mainly is used to gain, maintain or increase power and control over an individual. It often goes unnoticed by friends and family, however, 25 percent of women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence is the most common form of injury to women, more than robbery, rape or car accidents. Every day in United States more than three women are murdered by their boyfriend or husband. Every nine seconds in the United States a women is assaulted or beaten. On average a women will leave an abusive relationship seven to 11 times before she leaves permanently. About 75 percent of women are murdered when they try leave or have left the abusive relationship.

Domestic violence not only harms the victim in the relationship, but also the children involved. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children have been exposed to domestic violence. Men who grew up seeing domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners as sons from nonviolent families.

Even though children may not be the main victim during this type of domestic violence, they still hear the abuser yelling threats. They still see the abuser punching the victim and breaking things in the house. They still can feel the tension in the house and see the marks on the victim. Exposure to domestic violence can negatively influence a child’s educational, social, emotional and behavioral growth.

Domestic violence influences each child differently. Some children act out while others withdrawal from friends and family. Common reactions to exposure from domestic abuse include trouble sleeping, eating, attention problems, anxiety and-or depression. The more support children receive, the fewer problems will affect them in the future.

Everyone has the right to be safe. Clinton County Women’s Center offers a safe place for anyone experiencing abuse. The Clin ton County Women’s Center is a nonprofit private organization with a 24 hour hot-line, counseling, legal and medical advocacy. The center is located at 34 W. Main St., Lock Haven. If you or someone you know is going through domestic abuse, contact the center at 570-748-9509 to learn about domestic violence and the shelter. Services are free and confidential and are provided without regard to race, income, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, ethnicity or religion.

From July 2015 to June of this year the Clinton County Women’s Center has had a total of 118 residents, 74 being adults and 44 being children. There were 1,576 nights of shelter. During the past year CCWC provided 5,449 meals. A total number of 566 clients were seen at the shelter.