October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The topic of domestic violence has sprung to the forefront of American pop culture in recent weeks as a result of the Ray Rice video. Unfortunately, when the outrage of the American public fades and the public service announcements stop, 25% of all women will still experience domestic violence in their lifetime (CDC). Because 74% of all Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, we are obviously whispering about it (Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006). We need to do more than whisper. We need to see domestic violence for what it is – violence….and it is NEVER okay.
Humans tend to gravitate to what is familiar – even if that familiarity is abuse. We have a responsibility to each generation to teach our young men and young women what a healthy relationship looks like. Anger should be discussed, and not expressed with violent words or actions. Unfortunately, 50% of men who frequently assault their wives also frequently abuse their children (evefoundation.org). Furthermore, studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually (evenfoundation.org). These statistics are startling and it could be argued that up to 10 million children are being set up to become either victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a cycle we can break.
Domestic violence tends to be a silent crime. Only about 55% of all incidents of domestic violence are reported (CDC). It’s a crime of shame and guilt. Men and women who are victims of domestic violence are embarrassed and ashamed by their abuse. They protect their abuser and blame themselves for causing the abuse. The abuser is often extremely remorseful and promises to never do it again – until the next time. Unfortunately, more than 3 women and 1 man are “loved to death” by their intimate partners in this country every day (Bureau of Justice Statistics). Abuse is NEVER about love. Abuse is about power and control.
As the football season wears on and we get caught up with the hype of tailgating, team rivalries and office pools, let’s not forget that for one moment as a nation of fans and athletes, regardless of color or tax bracket, we came together and said collectively, “WE WILL NOT TOLERATE VIOLENCE IN OUR HOUSE!”
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence or for more information call Lesley at 433-2207 at Richland County Family Planning, The Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or go to the website http://www.thehotline.org .
It’s time to be silent no more.