An estimated 196,000 South Dakotans experience rape, stalking, or violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Looking around at the close-knit town of Faulkton, it is hard to believe things like that could be happening here. Unfortunately, studies have shown that rural residents experience domestic abuse at higher rates than non-rural residents in the same state. These individuals are more likely to suffer more severe injuries related to their abuse. A survey of rural Americans revealed that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men reported facing domestic abuse in their lifetime.
What can we do? There are two main ways to help. The first is identifying when abuse is taking place. Domestic abuse isn’t always physical or sexual violence. It is a pattern of behavior where the abuser asserts power and control over the victim. This can be things like isolating them from friends and family, taking control of their finances, threatening to hurt children or pets to punish the victim, or humiliating and devaluing the victim. Abusers will deny abuse happened or blame the victim for making them treat the victim poorly. Looking for and acknowledging these more subtle signs of abuse can help the victim understand when abuse is occurring. As neighbors and family members, your validation and support for victims is invaluable.
The second way to help is knowing where help can be found. The closest victims’ shelter to Faulk County is in Redfield. They offer extensive services including housing, transportation, and legal aid. Your healthcare providers at FAMC are trained to work with victims of domestic abuse as well. You can always call the police if you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of an individual or family. Faulkton is full of good people who care about each other and their community. Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse and getting people assistance they need is just another way the people of Faulkton can help their neighbors.
Family Crisis Center, Redfield, SD 605-472-0508
Safe Harbor, Aberdeen, SD 605-226-1212 https://safeharborsd.org/
National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 https://ncadv.org/