The prevalence of domestic violence in the United States and Oregon in particular is staggering: Over 1 in 3 women and 1 in 3 men in Oregon report having experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the effect an abusive relationship can have on your health, but the impact is substantial. The stress of abuse can take a physical toll. Some of the most common effects include over-eating, depression and anxiety, frequent headaches, and hypertension. It can also increase a woman’s risk for chronic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, asthma and depression. Additionally, abuse can limit a woman’s ability to effectively manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
SouthRiver Community Health Center is working with Battered Persons’ Advocacy (BPA) to expand our capacity to support survivors and victims of domestic violence across Douglas County. Our clinical staff are better equipped to talk to patients about domestic violence and connect them with resources for support.
The types of support offered by BPA include emergency services, sexual assault response services, shelter services, legal advocacy, and transitional housing services. You can contact their 24-Hours Crisis Line at 541-673-7867 or check out their website at peaceathome.com. You can also contact Rachelle Capone, the Healthy Relationships Coordinator who is available at SouthRiver on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you are worried that your health is being affected by your relationship, you are not alone. Here are some proven steps you can take to help you cope and improve your health:
- Talk to your health care provider about things you may be doing to help you cope, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, or over-eating, and discuss healthier coping strategies and how to find support for next steps. It’s important to talk with someone supportive who you trust about what’s going on.
- If it is safe, write about the pain you experienced.
- Reduce your stress through deep breathing and exercise.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for toll-free, 24/7 support with safety planning, housing options, and local referrals. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (TTY 1-800-787-3224).
To learn more about SouthRiver Community Health Center, visit south-river.org or call 541-492-4550.