Indiana Daily Student

Experts talk about forms of domestic violence, resources available in Bloomington

<p>The Counseling and Psychological Services offices are located on the fourth floor of the IU Health Center. CAPS is one local resource for victims and witnesses of domestic violence.</p>

The Counseling and Psychological Services offices are located on the fourth floor of the IU Health Center. CAPS is one local resource for victims and witnesses of domestic violence.

Experts say October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is a time to bring awareness to the many forms of domestic violence and different counseling and reporting resources available to victims.

Sally Thomas, director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy at IU, said domestic abusers often criticize victims because they know them well.

“The people that we care about, the people that we date, that we live with, they’re the ones that know us and know what our kind of vulnerable pieces are,” Thomas said.

Laura McCloskey, School of Public Health professor, said most people think of physical violence as the sole form of domestic abuse, but abuse can manifest itself physically, emotionally, psychologically, verbally, sexually and financially. It can include criticism, forced isolation from loved ones and prohibited privacy. 

McCloskey said she conducted a study on 300 women in abusive relationships and found they had suffered in their professional lives due to criticism from their partners. 

She said domestic violence can cause depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

McCloskey conducted a different study on women for 10 years, finding that two years after leaving the relationship, their depression scores and mental health often reverted to normal. 

Sam Hammett, assistant director for Sexual Violence Prevention at IU, said it takes someone an average of seven to eight times to leave an abusive partner. 

“After you attempt to leave, that is the most dangerous a relationship can be,” Hammett said.

Deaths related to domestic violence have increased by 181% in Indiana in the past year, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Resources are available locally for victims and witnesses of domestic abuse, including: 

Middle Way House 

Middle Way House, located at 338 S Washington St., Bloomington, IN 47401, supports survivors of domestic violence and works to educate the community through prevention programs, according to its website

The organization provides a confidential, 24/7 crisis line at (812) 336-0846 and an online chat for victims who are unable to speak. They also provide shelter and housing. 

“No matter how somebody identifies, we will work and help them in our shelter,” Debra Morrow, Middle Way House executive director, said. “What they need help with is what we’re going to help them with.” 

Morrow said prevention work includes programs in schools, such as the Building Healthy Relationships Program, and community outreach programming like Queer Talk as well as other community presentations. Middle Way House also has outreach offices in Greene County, Owen County and Martin County. 

“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time that we can bring awareness to it,” Morrow said. “But we have to also remember it the other eleven months because the detrimental effects that it has to children, the trauma that it causes to families — that’s happening every day and that’s happening in our community.”

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling Psychological Services provide counseling, offer support groups and do prevention work at educational tables around campus. CAPS has a Sexual Assault Crisis Service, with a confidential 24/7 hotline, which can be reached at 812-855-5711, and Confidential Victim Advocates. Confidential Victim Advocates provide emotional and academic support, safety plans, and help with reporting. 

Reporting domestic violence cases at IU

Reporting options on campus include filing a Public Incident Report with the Office of Student Conduct or the IU Police Department. 

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