Summer approaches with each passing day.

Most of us look forward to longer days, warmer weather, and less pollen in the air. Unfortunately, when home is not a safe place those longer days are not filled with laughter and fond memories. Those days seem endless and turn into nightmares. Increased time at home, warmer temperatures, and added stressors can make violent situations worse.
According to domestic shelters.org, some domestic violence programs report an increase in incidents during summer months due to certain factors: increased stress with children being out of school, hotter temperatures, and the likelihood of participating in summer parties’ i.e., drinking alcohol or using drugs. “While advocates would wholeheartedly agree that domestic violence cannot be blamed on alcohol, or temperatures or children, these factors can play a role in contributing to an abusive partner’s already existing behavior.” Utility bills increase with cooling homes during extreme temperatures. The added costs of childcare, summer camps, and activities strain finances. All these factors lead to an increase in violence due to financial burdens.
If you find yourself in a bad situation, and you dread the summer because you know how the cycle starts, there is help. Shelters provide safety and confidential help. Programs exist to assist survivors of domestic violence to safely relocate with their children. Making sure that you are aware of programs is an excellent way to help someone get out of a bad situation.
Ending the cycle of abuse for your family seems like an unsurmountable obstacle at first. It means leaving the comfort of the familiar behind. Change makes people uncomfortable. If you or someone you know is caught in the cycle of abuse it is important to talk with a domestic violence advocate. An advocate helps talk through tough decisions and assists in formulating an exit strategy with you. Safety is the most important part of this strategy. Survivors do not have to do this alone.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
•Tells you that you can never do anything right
•Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
•Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
•Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
•Controls every penny spent in the household
•Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
•Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
•Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
•Prevents you from making your own decisions
•Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
•Prevents you from working or attending school
•Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
•Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
•Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
•Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
If any of these warning signs are present in your current relationship, please contact Crisis Services of North Alabama at (256)574-5826 or (256)716-1000. We can help.

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