October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and one of the local groups doing positive work on the difficult issue is the YWCA of Pierce County. As of late, they have focused their efforts on prevention.

“Because we want to give people the skills and tools and ways that they can do what we call green light prevention, so rather than telling people what not to do, we want to encourage people about the things to do to have a healthy relationship,” YWCA’s Karin White said.

One of the age groups they are focusing on is the youth. White said young women ages 16-24 are the highest demographic that is likely to experience physical violence in a relationship. In recent months they’ve been going to local high schools and speaking with kids about the keys to a healthy relationship.

If you believe you know someone who may be experiencing problems with domestic violence there are a variety of ways you may be able to help.

“The first thing that you can say is that you care about someone and that you are concerned about their safety and that there are people to help them when they are wanting to reach out. That you believe their story. Something that’s traumatizing for people who experience violence is that when they talk about it people don’t believe them and you don’t want to do that, that can be even more traumatizing,” White said.

“I think what’s hard is people don’t want to admit that that is what is happening in their relationship. A lot of times we just say ‘Well they should just leave’, but in the state of the housing crisis we’re in right now, leave to where? There are not places for people to go necessarily. And also it’s extremely complicated because people are invested in their families and people they love or people that once loved them, so it’s not just simple,” White said. “So trying to put a simple band-aid on a complex problem never works, but the most basic place to start is to believe a victim, tell them that you care about them and that there’s help available for them.”

If you are interested in support or know someone who may need help you can call the YWCA Pierce County Domestic Violence support line at 253-383-2593. You can also find information on their website at www.ywcapiercecounty.org/get-help-now

Other state and national resources are: