African American’s may be facing more domestic violence issues than they realize. In 2014, The National Domestic Hotline received a total of 292,707 calls/chats. Of those contacts, more than 22,000, who chose to disclose their race, identified as African American or black.
In the beginning of a relationship it’s not always easy to determine if a person is capable of violence or domestic abuse. According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, your partner may seem almost perfect in the early stages and, in many cases, possessive and controlling behaviors intensify as the relationship matures.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Cameka Crawford, chief communications officer of National Domestic Violence Hotline and Love is Respect, to talk domestic violence awareness. Check out Crawford’s tips below and find out how to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are three ways we can we tell, earlier on in a relationship, that domestic violence may occur?
Crawford: Each case of domestic violence is unique. However, there are some warning signs that can occur early in a relationship that may indicate that someone is experiencing abuse. Some of those warning signs include extreme jealousy by your partner, isolation – or wanting you to spend time with your partner versus your family and friends – and excessive texting.
What should women do once they recognize these signs? What is the next step?
The first step is to get educated and know your options. The hotline has advocates available 24-hours a day, seven-days a week to talk through options with people. It is also important to build a positive support system of friends and family.
Many women blame themselves for attracting the negative behavior of a spouse or significant other. What is your response to this?
There is help. You have options and you are not to blame. You are important and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Are there steps that women can take to prevent domestic violence?
To say there are steps that someone can take to prevent abuse, is placing the responsibility or blame on the victim. However, we encourage people to recognize the components of a healthy relationship, learn the red flags of an abusive relationship and get educated. People should also understand that there are resources and help available for people experiencing abuse.
To report domestic violence or help a friend or relative, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7. The call is confidential. You can also live chat via the website every day from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. CT.