‘Abuse is never your fault’: Counselor talks about resources for those in bad relationships

Domestic Violence Safety Plan

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - No matter the marketing strategies for Valentine’s Day, for some the day is a holiday just for couples.

But what about the many who suffer from abuse rather than love?

Stats on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website show on average 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S.

Chelsea Copeland, a staff counselor at Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center in Myrtle Beach, said there are signs indicating when a person should leave a relationship.

One of the signs is ongoing physical, verbal or mental violence used to control or intimidate the person. Another is situational violence like an argument that’s gotten out of hand.

“Domestic violence is something that goes on in relationships and it’s important to understand, first and foremost, that abuse is never your fault," Copeland said. "I say it’s important to have a safety template planned out to know what you’re going to do in the event of a scary situation in a relationship.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have faced psychologically aggression behavior from an intimate partner. This happens across all communities, no matter the age, socio-economic status, gender, race or religion.

Copeland said it’s important to create a safety plan for domestic violence. That plan is designed just for you and it includes ways to remain safe. Your plan can list out things like if you plan to leave, what’s happening after?

The plan should also included how to cope with emotions, telling family and friends about the abuse, and even taking legal actions.

“You can find a domestic violence safety template online and you can call the domestic violence hotline and they will help you or friends or family members complete that to make sure you’re safe and you can report abuse to authorities,” she said.

The national domestic violence hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE. Advocates behind the line are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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