Every year, approximately 12 million people in the U.S. become victims of intimate partner violence. Though “survivor” is the preferred term, unfortunately, it’s estimated that 1,300 people will lose their lives to domestic violence each year.

As you make your New Year’s Resolutions, consider that you can make an impact on the issue of domestic violence/sexual assault, whether you are a survivor, friend, or family member of a survivor, or have never been personally affected by violence at all. If you are hoping for a more peace-filled world in 2018, below are four resolutions you can make to be a positive influence in your community. 

Four Steps to Help End Domestic Violence

1. Be the Change. The Crisis Intervention Center (Fort Smith, AR) encourages you … and me and all of us, to take stock of our own relationships first. Are you listening respectfully to your partner? Are you exhibiting jealousy or control, or losing your temper often? Or, are you staying in a relationship where you feel threatened, unsafe, or controlled? Are friends and loved ones cautioning you about your relationship with your partner or expressing concerns?  Resolve to model a healthy relationship by becoming a better partner yourself. Get outside counsel if there are red (or even hot pink) flags! 

2. Reach Out. Invite the Crisis Intervention Center to speak at your place of employment, school, or civic group and learn more about each of us can do together in our communities, who we can help, and how people can access the services of the Crisis Intervention Center.  You never know who may be influenced by such a talk.  Education is crucial to ending the cycle and starting a dialogue!

3. Talk to Your Children. Helping teach the next generation about healthy relationships is also vitally important. Help children understand that they can say no in situations where they feel unsafe. Teach them how to define and establish healthy personal boundaries and to not being afraid of disclosing (to an adult) when something feels awry  or uncomfortable with another person. With teens, remind them that dating should be fun and violence is never acceptable between boyfriends and girlfriends.

4. Change Your Focus. It is as simple as holding the abuser, not the victim, accountable for the violence. With stories of domestic violence/sexual assault frequenting the news, do you find yourself in discussions with others asking, “Why does she stay?” Instead, start asking, “Why does he abuse her?” or “Why do we allow this to continue in our society?” Challenge others who blame the survivor.

These simple steps can make a difference in someone’s life … it may be yours or it may be in the life of someone close to you! Thank you to Allison Davis from the Crisis Intervention Center for the wisdom and permission to share this post.

Happy 2018!