FAIRBANKS- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and as we reported earlier new numbers show Alaska is the second worst state in the country for women killed by men. If you include all cases of domestic violence the scope definitely increases. Executive Director for the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living, Brenda Stanfill, says about 50% of the women in Fairbanks have experienced some sort of domestic violence, “and that doesn’t even include the economic, and the emotional things, it really was about the physical violence. That’s a really high number.”
Domestic violence is a learned behavior, “it’s about patterns that are used to project your will onto somebody else, ” Stanfill says. Depending on the severity, the effects can have far reaching consequences. “These kids are growing up in homes where we now know brain development is impacted when they witness domestic violence.” Stanfill says they carry that into the classroom where you can find bullying and into adult life where you have people addicted to substances that are trying to mask the trauma they experienced as children.
Sometimes we know domestic violence is happening and we want to fix the problem quickly, but there are dangers with abrupt changes. “So it has to be very well thought out and so being supportive of the person who is experiencing that, to help them through the process, but not being too judgmental if they stay longer than you think.” It’s also an option to talk to the person doing the abusing and tell them it’s not okay and they need to get help because, “if someone wants to change, they can absolutely gain the skills to do that,” Stanfill says.