October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It is something that hasn't always been easy to talk about. In fact, it still isn't. It's one circumstance in which the victim is easily criticized for keeping themselves in these situations. Those that judge however, are most likely not one of the 3 in 10 women, or 1 in 10 men to have ever experienced a domestically violent incident or relationship.

Rape, physical violence, stalking, manipulation, verbal abuse and emotional torture are all pieces to such an unlivable puzzle and they're happening every second all around us. In many of these relationships that continue on for weeks, months, years and decades it is the emotional abuse and manipulation that leads the victim to stay. I can say this from personal experience.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is something that I'm very passionate about because of how it has affected my family and even myself. Let me tell you a brief story: Growing up we always thought things were perfectly fine within my Aunts marriage. It was, on the outside, as loving, fun and caring as it could be. It wasn't until decades of being together did we find out what was really happening behind closed doors. I can vividly remember it like it was yesterday having my Aunt show up at my parents house wanting me, the photography major to take pictures of the bruises strewn about her body after the act that made her say, "enough is enough."

She was thankfully able to get out of her situation but so many are broken down emotionally, scared, scarred, depressed, broken and inevitably feel stuck. That's why this month is so important to make it known that you're not alone.

So many have gone through what you might be going through right now. But no matter your financial situation (my Aunt had next to nothing to her name), living situation (there are places you can go), children, etc. you are able to get out and make things better for yourself.

A facility that was very helpful to my Aunt and that I've supported since her situation in various ways (including facing my fear of clowns to raise money) is based out of Mechanicville. They can also recommend facilities that may be closer to you if Mechanicville isn't a convenient location. If you or someone you know is in a domestically violent situation, you are not alone and there is help, please check out the Mechanicville Domestic Violence Advocacy Program.

There is also a NY State DV Hotline: 1-800-942-6906

Statistics on Domestic Violence:

http://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/ http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/