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D.A.R.T. lends hand to abused individuals

This item originally appeared in the October 28, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

Every 12 seconds a woman is beaten in America.

In the amount of time it takes you to check your e-mail two women are beaten.

In the amount of time it takes a song to play, 15 women are beaten.

Domestic abuse has got to stop.

Women need to know the warning signs and know there is help.

Dr. Linda Griffin, director of counseling services, said abuse is not just physical; abuse can be as subtle as using derogatory language.

Griffin said some other signs of abuse include: separating an individual from her family and friends; belittling; demeaning vocabulary; and telling a partner no one wants them and they cannot get anyone else.

Any of these signs should send a big red flag to anyone being abused.

A relationship should help women feel better about themselves, not make them feel like they are two inches tall.

Friends and family of the woman being abused may wonder why she is staying with the abuser. Most abused women truly love the man, hope things will change or fear that the threats will become reality.

"An individual on the outside might wonder how a person can stay [in the relationship], but they have to understand it's very subtle and progressive," Griffin said. "It usually starts out in imperceptible ways that someone wouldn't recognize."

Advice for friends and family when talking to an abused woman about her relationship: when approaching her try to be understanding; tell her there are other women in her situation; inform her about domestic abuse; let her know violence is never OK; and when she is ready provide information about local shelters, hotlines and counseling services.

Many abused women feel like they are trapped in the relationship and think there is no help available, but help is out there for those who want it.

Counseling Services, located in Keeny Hall, Room 310, is willing to help any woman who feels like she is being abused. The counselors never disclose to anyone that any student has come to them unless someone is in immanent danger.

The Domestic Abuse Resistance Team, located at 108 W. Alabama Ave., is just one of the many places women can find safety.

D.A.R.T., established in Ruston in 1994, with the help of District Attorney Bob Levy and many others, reaches out to women by offering them shelter.

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