Diane Rubin: Support Safe Passage

  • Hundreds of people begin the 5K fun run during the 14th annual Hot Chocolate Run to benefit Safe Passage in downtown Northampton. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Published: 11/30/2018 9:33:00 AM
Support Safe Passage

The Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton takes place Sunday, Dec. 2. This event highlights the work Safe Passage does to help survivors of domestic abuse. The event supports safe shelter, legal assistance and critical counseling services for adults and their children who live with violence in their homes.

Abusers often lure their victims into a relationship with charm. A potential partner may be led to believe that this abundance of charm is a sign of caring, admiration or even love.

The reality is that many abusive people criticize you and cut you down in every facet of your life and point out how you are inadequate. Many abusers don’t learn from mistakes because they lack the ability to see or consider other people’s viewpoints.

Abusers act as if they are greater than you and have all the power of the relationship. Often, they fear conflict in the open, so they prevent showing the public their true personality. They hit you, yell at you, call you a lowly person and then invariably seek comfort from you.

I know because I was in an abusive relationship. Many people think that abuse is solely physical by threatening or inflicting injury on a partner. More often, the physical abuse is accompanied by emotional manipulation, verbal abuse, false charm and lies.

Abuse can happen to anyone, including children, teens, young and older adults, the elderly, working individuals, stay-at-home parents; it can happen across cultures, religions and genders. In some cases, disabled people are mentally or physically abused in intimate relationships because they can’t protect themselves.

According to a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 summary report, in the United States, approximately 24 people per minute are raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked by an intimate partner. One in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence in intimate relationships.

Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells? Do you change your behavior due to his or her mood? Do you not see family or friends to avoid his or her anger or jealousy? Do you feel threatened or scared by your partner’s moods, actions or behavior?

Abused people seem afraid and avoid conversation about their relationship and become increasingly isolated from friends and family. They make excuses for visible bruises. The victim is unusually self-blaming. The abused may have been living in a violent situation and must make a plan to escape. The children need to be kept safe and secure as well.

Call Safe Passage’s hotline anytime at 413-586-5066 or 888-345-5282 (toll-free) to make a safety plan, get counseling or join a support group. SafeLink can be called at 877-785-2020. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233.

Learn about domestic violence and dynamics. Recognize your strengths; don’t blame yourself for an abuser’s faults. Rebuild a support system and surround yourself with supportive people.

It is painful to be in a relationship with an abuser. Find safety as soon as you are able. Support Safe Passage by making a donation.

Diane Rubin

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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