What is domestic violence? Most people agree it is domestic violence when someone hits their intimate partner (male or female, any age). However, it is also domestic violence when a person calls their intimate partner names like “stupid,” “lazy,” or “worthless.” It is domestic violence when a person withholds money until their intimate partner does what they want. It is domestic violence when a person threatens to tell others secrets about their intimate partner. And it is domestic violence when a person threatens to hurt a pet if their intimate partner doesn’t do something.
What is stalking? Stalking is not just following someone around, it is also when a person leaves unwelcome and/or an excessive amount of messages by phone, text, or email, or asks a friend or family member to do it for them.
What is sexual harassment? Most agree direct unwelcome touching is sexual harassment, but did you know it can also be harassment when someone makes sexual remarks to their friends, and it offends someone standing within earshot? Or when someone stares in a sexual way at another person’s body (and the person doesn’t like it).
What is sexual assault? Beyond the obvious answers, it is sexual assault when a person is sexual with someone who has had too much to drink, or is on drugs, and does not say a definite “Yes.” It is also assault if a person forces their partner to have sex, “or I’ll break up with you.” That would also be domestic violence.
Our domestic violence/sexual assault program, Shu’-‘aa-xuu-dvn, is about encouraging healthy, respectful relationships. But if you are in an unhealthy relationship, or are not sure, give us a call; we will listen and keep it confidential. We can also help in many ways. Call Judith at (707) 487-9255 x3134, or the CFS dedicated line at (707) 487-2089.
Submitted by: Judith Burke