October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
You've likely seen DeWitt County DOVE's signs around the community this month. DOVE's Jennifer Tolladay is hoping October will be a time when we take time and seek out information about domestic violence - such as the cycle of domestic abuse and violence starts with little things.
According to Tolladay, abusers very carefully select their victims, and oftentimes their behavior is something they likely have done in previous relationships.
An abusive relationship to turn from emotional abuse to physical abuse is often dependent on the abuser. Tolladay explains sometimes the relationship can take a turn based on substance abuse by the abuser or something in their lives triggers the change.
Tolladay points out, children can often be a catalyst to a victim seeking asylum. Whether the abuser has done something to the children in their relationship or the children have witnessed something and told a mandated reporter like a school teacher or church leader, those often can be the things that start the process of a victim leaving the relationship.
Tolladay indicates one of the biggest stigmas around domestic violence victims is they can just get up at any point and leave or that the victims must have done something to deserve what is happening to them. She points out abusers are going to find some reason to harm their victims.
She also notes the stigma is often that men are the only abusers however, there are some very "cunning and manipulative" women out there as well.
Tolladay encourages anyone enduring an abusive situation to do anything they can to escape and find help. The DOVE 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072 or their office line is 217-935-6619.