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Domestic abuse awareness is key

Domestic violence continues to affect our communities. We need to continue talking openly about this issue and offering help to those who are victims.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, a time to call attention to the problem. It's not just a concern for those who are a victim or abuser - it's something the entire community should be concerned about.

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

In Park Rapids, the number of reports of domestics has decreased over the past decade but there continue to be cases of violence. Park Rapids police chief Terry Eilers attributes this to more charges are being filed in domestic cases.

But even one case of domestic violence is cause for concern. In 2008, the police department received 17 calls reporting domestic assaults and 19 calls reporting domestic disputes.

More and more, people are talking about domestic abuse. It's important to continue communicating and not pushing the issue under the rug.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone and can be physical or emotional.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

-Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.

-Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.

-Tries to isolate you from family or friends.

-Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.

-Does not want you to work.

-Controls finances or refuses to share money.

-Punishes you by withholding affection.

-Expects you to ask permission.

-Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.

-Humiliates you in any way.

If you need help, talk to a friend or someone you trust. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Locally, the Headwaters Intervention Center has resources available. People can also find out about ways to help and reach out to those who need help. The number is 732-7413.

Let's keep the dialogue open and continue to talk about domestic violence in our community. We can help break the cycle of violence.