October Surprise …

You might think you’ve no need to pay attention to October being  Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month—but I have a few surprises.  For instance, did you know that: 

Many women experience their first physical assault during pregnancy? 

That when trying to leave an abusive relationship, victims are at great risk of being murdered?

If you observe a man abusing a woman, even an act as minor as roughly grasping her hand or arm, she is at great risk of severe injury or death? (DV is typically kept secret. When it is perpetrated in public, the abuser has crossed an inhibiting line.) 

Marital/couples therapy is NOT recommended? (As long as abuse is occurring and coercive control being exercised, conjoint therapy is not effective because the victim cannot be honest. Marital therapy typically looks at sharing the responsibility for problems. DV is behavior the abuser chooses, not one of shared responsibility.) 

Pets in DV homes have a shortened life expectancy?

Your cell phone can easily be turned into a microphone that an abuser can listen in to any time your phone has a battery? Or be used as a tracking device? (You will not know if/when that is done. A forensic investigator said it can take him over 100 hours to detect.)

Doctors who ask women (in private) if they’re being abused are stunned to learn how many are? When they ask why the women never told them, they hear: “You never asked me.” 

Church-going women are no less likely to become DV victims, as much as church hierarchy would like to think their church is immune?


Victims and their children, to be best helped, need the services of a DV professional, typically their services are FREE through DV agencies. General counselors and therapists often have insufficient experience with DV to help the clients address safety issues. 

The need for specialized DV knowledge was clearly demonstrated when I spoke with a man whose sister was killed by her abuser.  As he described his sister’s vigilance in trying to protect herself, I could see holes in her preparation that left her vulnerable to her assassin’s bullet. If in all her efforts, she had encountered someone experienced in DV who showed her the danger indicators and worked safety plans with her, perhaps she’d be alive today.

An abuser who has lost all hope and therefore inhibition is a dangerous opponent. But people who don’t know the warning signs are like abandoned sheep before a wolf. 

What better time than DV Awareness Month to gather some information and be a resource for someone who needs it?

Please get informed. More information is available on the DOVE Project page here on my website. Also the links below lead to sources of information and services available.


National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or  TTY 1-800-787-3224    


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence


The Ripple Effect – A public health education, research & advocacy organization with fact sheets and slide shows.



Assaulted Women’s Helpline – 154 languages

1.866.863.0511 or TTY  416.364.8762