May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and domestic violence is more intricately relevant than you might think.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline notes that most people assume those suffering mental illness are the ones perpetrating the violence. On the contrary, “the connection more commonly runs the other way,” and mental health can be compromised as a result of domestic abuse. In fact, recent reports are that up to 84% of abused women suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 77% have depression, and 75% experience anxiety.
Our area is not immune to the problem. The Palo Alto Online News reported that Santa Clara County sees an average of 100 cases of domestic violence (non-fatal) per week, according to Rolanda Pierre-Dixon, assistant district attorney. As a proactive measure, in 2010 the county was among the first in California to implement a new online registry of domestic-violence perpetrators, making better information available more quickly to law-enforcement and court officials statewide. California courts offer a special page of information about how the law can help address domestic violence.
Recognizing that leaving the abuser is not so easy, the Hotline takes a pragmatic approach to those in abusive situations, offering specific suggestions for protecting yourself during a violent episode, making preparations to leave safely, and protecting yourself by leaving a false trail with no digital clues before you leave.
Hotlines offer an immediate source of experienced help:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474, 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)
This week at Lifetree Café, we’ll explore the cycle of domestic violence and learn practical strategies for how to enable those suffering domestic violence to leave their abusive situations. Lifetree representative Craig Cable says, “Both women and men can survive domestic violence.”
Join the conversation this Sunday, May 12, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 3373 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Admission to the 60-minute community event is FREE, as are the snacks and beverages. Lifetree Café is a place where people gather for thoughtful conversations about life and faith in a casual coffeehouse environment. The About page has more information. See trailers about upcoming Lifetree events at www.lifetreecafe.com, or click below: