Domestic Violence in Oregon
On Oct. 6, Bud and I ran in the Center for Hope and Safety’s 12th Annual Steps to Safety 5K, held at the Oregon Public Safety Academy, home of Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). This footrace, as well as October being designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is to spotlight domestic violence. Raising awareness can help those in need.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and/or emotional abuse of one person by an intimate partner. The abuser’s goal is to have power and control over another person. It may happen between married couples people who are living together, people who are dating—teens to seniors, same sex partners, or people who share children. It can happen to anyone, in all socioeconomic and racial groups. Most typically, the abuser is male, and the victim is female. But, this is not always the case.
Some of the Victims
Some of the victims can be anyone from among the people that you know.
Sarah (name changed), a co-worker in an office that I worked in, came to work one day with a severely bruised black eye. Sarah told us that her husband had gotten mad at her and accidentally punched her. He was very sorry and promised not to do this again. Unfortunately, it did happened again. Sarah was afraid to leave because they had a child together, and Sarah was afraid of what might happen to her son.
Maggie (name changed), a professional woman with a prestigious career, had a husband who also was a professional with a prestigious career. He was known to have physically abused Maggie over a long period of time. Maggie finally left her husband, but suffered from the consequences of domestic violence for many years.
In cases of domestic violence, we must be aware that it is not the fault of the victim, rather it is because of the abuser’s actions. It is not the victim’s fault.
More Common Than You Think
Domestic violence is another of society’s issues that we don’t talk about much. For many, home is a place of love and safety. But for many, it can be a violent place. On average, there are over 20,000 calls a day to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. The Center for Hope and Safety in Salem recorded 26,526 contacts to their office in the last year. These numbers suggest that domestic abuse is not a rare thing.
What to Look For
The abusers do exhibit certain signs. Initially, the abuser can be very charming. As the relationship progresses, the abusers isolate their victims by controlling when and where the victim can interact with family and friends. Jealousy appears with accusations of the victim having affairs. Emotional abuse occurs to reduce the victim’s self-esteem. The victim thinks that it’s all her/his fault. Abusers become very controlling, working to control all aspects of the victim’s life. The abuser is not expressing anger, but is trying to control the other person.
Safe places where domestic violence victims can get support, information and access to safe shelters have been set up. To help with the problems of domestic violence, both men and women can change the way we view and treat each other in daily life. As women and men move to more equal roles in the home, in the workplace, and in society, ideas of men being more powerful than women will change to one of equality. This is will change how we interact with, respect, and treat one another. Despite this, domestic violence can still happen. It is not the fault of the victim, but it is because of the abuser’s actions. As a society, we should not be afraid of talking about social issues that make us uncomfortable. By shining light on issues of behavior, we—both men and women, can bring about change.
In the meantime…
For those who are suffering from domestic violence or who have questions and seek advice, there are local resources that you may connect with.
In Marion County, you can contact the Center for Hope and Safety for information, support, or for emergency shelter. They may be reached at their hotline number: 503-399-7722, which is staffed by trained personnel (English and Spanish) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In Polk County, you may contact Sable House at 503-623-4033 or 1-800-518-0284, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for information, support for victims, and emergency shelter.
(Note: If you are not from the local areas, either facility can still help you.)
More information may also be found at
Polk County Clerk
Community Resource Guide (pg. 17)
In an emergency, you may also contact your local law enforcement agency by calling 911.