The recent media coverage of domestic violence involving NFL players and celebrities has raised awareness and prompted much discussion on the issue of domestic abuse. Victims are discovering that they are not alone in their suffering, and help is available.
Recently, a panel of experts held a domestic violence informational event at the Fairfield Public Library in Connecticut to educate people on the signs of domestic violence and offer advice on how to stop it. The panel stressed that neither perpetrators nor victims of domestic violence can be classified by any stereotype. Domestic abuse spans across all racial, ethnic, religious, and economic boundaries. Abusers may even be well respected members of a community. The only common trait that all abusers share is a desire to have power and control over a victim. Abusers often use threats and manipulation to gain such power and control.
Panelist Debra Greenwood, president and CEO of the Center for Family Justice, explained the formidable challenges that victims of domestic violence must contend with when trying to leave their abusers. The Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, CT offers a wide variety of victims’ services to help people escape domestic violence. Services are funded by the federal and state governments and by volunteers and fund raising. The Center for Family Justice is comprised of 22 agencies that provide support to victims including housing, counseling, a 24 hour hotline, and more. Greenwood emphasized that leaving an abuser is a necessary, but dangerous action.