October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is an issue that, as a former board member of Center for Hope and Safety, is deeply personal to me.

Progress has been made since Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched in 1987 to support domestic violence victims and survivors, hold abusers accountable, and to pass legislation to further those goals. But there is still work to be done.

Why I support Center for Hope & Safety

Center for Hope & Safety https://www.hopeandsafetynj.org/ is a NJ-based non-profit support service, helping adults and children who have been impacted by domestic violence build a safer, healthier life. It does so by offering assistance, resources, and professional services. These services include emergency and transitional housing, counseling, legal advocacy, job readiness training, financial literacy training, art therapy, and much more.

Join Ridgewood Moving Services to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month

At Ridgewood Moving Services, we believe in a culture of giving. It’s true to my heart, and true to the core values that we bring. That’s one reason why our team will be participating in the Walk Together Against Domestic Violence 3K event on Saturday, October 29 at 10:00 a.m. in Van Saun County Park in Paramus. This event is organized by Center for Hope and Safety. You can find details, register to join us, or donate to the cause at https://www.hopeandsafetynj.org/walk-together-against-domestic-violence/.

 In addition, Ridgewood Moving Services is collecting gift cards to area supermarkets, department stores, clothing stores, Amazon, plus gas cards, generic VISA gift cards, and cards (which can be purchased and sent online) for Uber and Lyft. We will donate these to individuals and families who are rebuilding their lives after leaving a domestic violence situation—often with only the clothes they are wearing when they escape. You may bring physical gift cards to the walk or mail them to our office at 575 Corporate Drive, #405, Mahwah, NJ 07430.

Facts about Domestic Violence

Domestic violence occurs in every state, among a broad swath of the population. Becoming more aware of the signs of domestic violence, and where to find help, are key to helping curb this terrible crime.

It is defined as willful intimidation, physical or sexual assault, or other abusive behavior (such as verbal or emotional abuse) committed by one intimate partner against another. The abuse may also come from adult children against parents, sometimes lumped together with elder abuse. It generally shows up as a systematic pattern (although even one isolated incident is not acceptable), and the frequency or level of violence varies widely. Although many people associate it with violence against women, it is not gender specific. And sadly, children are also the silent victims of this crime.

In New Jersey where our moving company is based, 35.8% of women and 27.4% of men experience intimate partner physical violence, rape, or stalking in their lifetimes. (Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Signs of domestic violence

If you or someone you know has been experiencing these situations, you or they are at high risk for domestic violence (either currently occurring or developing). I know this is difficult, but again, raising awareness is one way to stop this abuse.

  • Physical abuse. Grabbing, pinching, hitting, shoving, or throwing objects; choking, slapping or punching the partner or children; forcing unwanted sex.
  • Control & humiliation. This may be public or private criticism and yelling; restricting access to a phone, TV, or internet; telling the partner what to wear or how to act; taking money or refusing to give money.
  • Instilling fear. Verbal and physical threats, which may include threatening to call the authorities/report the partner, threats to commit suicide, or threats to the children or family pets in addition to the intimate partner; constantly checking on the partner’s whereabouts and activities; blaming the partner for anything and everything that is a problem.
  • Isolation. The abuser may forbid his/her partner to see or speak to friends and family, keep the children away, or lock the partner out of the home.

If you suspect someone is a victim, or if you are suffering from domestic violence, please reach out for information and help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). If you are in Bergen County, you can also reach out to Center for Hope & Safety at 201-944-9600.