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Shining a Light on Domestic Violence: know the signs and what to do

FILE PHOTO (Image credit: Getty Images.)

SALT LAKE CITY — Ahead of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which starts Friday, KSL is Shining a Light on Domestic Violence

Know the signs of domestic violence

Victims of domestic violence often do not realize they are in an abusive relationship. 

That is why knowing what to look out for is crucial for our friends and loved ones. 

“When someone is being isolated, when someone is being controlled, manipulated, gaslit,” says licensed clinical social worker Jenn Oxborrow. 

Trouble often begins with an abuser trying to isolate their victims, according to Liz Sollis with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. 

“In the beginning, it might seem endearing because they just want to be with them all the time and they really only want to hang out with them; but the reality is that can turn into an abusive situation,” says Sollis. 

She says this might escalate into an abuser moving their victim away from friends and family or limiting a partner’s contact with them. 

Eventually, an abuser will reduce their victim’s self-esteem and create greater dependence on the abuser. 

It’s not as easy as just leaving

Leaving an abusive or violent relationship is complicated. 

Oxborrow points out a victim might be left without access to money or a place to live if they simply call the police on an abusive partner. 

Sollis says abusers will sometimes remove access to bank accounts or vehicles, leaving the victim without a way to leave. 

While there are several local resources available to domestic abuse survivors, getting someone to accept them might be difficult. 

“You may have to encourage someone to connect with resources or find a way out multiple times before they actually do it,” says Sollis. 

Another factor: many of us are conditioned to simply mind our own business. However, that can be dangerous. 

“When you see an overt act of aggression, you see people being physical with each other, please call 911,” Oxborrow implores. 

Sollis commends the bystander in Moab who did just that after claiming to witness Brian Laundrie hitting Gabby Petito last month before her body was discovered outside Grand Teton National Park. 

If you or somebody you know are experiencing trouble linked to domestic violence, the following resources are available to you.

Utah Domestic Violence LINKLine
1-800-897-LINK (5465)

If LINKLine advocates are experiencing an increased call volume, calls will be forwarded to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

StrongHearts Native Helpline