October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and part of that awareness is being alert to the warning signs of an abusive relationship, which can range from threats to invasive behavior. Lauren Humphrey is Outreach Coordinator with the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center and says the group’s Paws for Peace walk Saturday aims to draw attention to one red flag: using pets for intimidation.
“A lot of times that power and control that the abuser is putting onto the family starts with the family pets, starts with the dog or the cat and threatening to hurt the dog or the cat and threatening or hurting the pet and saying they’re gonna kill them or whatnot, especially if the person dearly loves that animal.”
She says there are other warning signs.
“Controlling finances, having complete control over all the money. That’s a huge one. That’s the beginning process of isolation. If you’re not having the same contact with your family and friends because of your partner. Your partner is saying ‘I don’t want you around so and so.’ It really doesn’t matter if they’re your friend, you’re allowed to see them. Controlling your job and your activities, controlling what you wear.”
The walk this weekend hopes to draw attention to these issues and more.
Humphrey says it begins at 11 a.m. and starts at the St. James Fisherman Church at 421 Thorsheim Street. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and you should bring a dog. If you don’t have one on hand, the Center is partnering with the Humane Society of Kodiak and you can sign up to walk one of the dogs from their animal shelter.