There is nothing—absolutely nothing—justifiable about being abused by anyone or someone who claims to love you. Whether it is physical, emotional, mental, sexual, or financial abuse; it is wrong. It is long overdue that we stop making the victims of domestic violence pay for the crimes of their perpetrators. It is time we give a voice to those who have none, and come together and help save the countless lives of those affected by the acts of domestic violence.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. As a community we have the ability to come together and help bring aid and comfort to those who are suffering at the hands of someone that they believed would love them, and not harm them. Women, children, and although a small percentage as compared to woman and children—men—are victims of domestic violence each and every day. Many are suffering in silence; even in our own families.
Countless lives are taken each and every day due to domestic violence. Although Domestic Violence affects all races, genders, and socioeconomic groups, the numbers in the African American community are staggering. With the threatening loom of continued economic distress—especially in the African American community—it is feared that the number of victims of domestic violence will rise, as there seems to be a link between economic hardship and increased domestic violence. African American women experience a 35% higher rate of domestic violence than any other race. More than one third of the homicides attributed to domestic violence, have been African Americans.
One in four women have experienced domestic violence from a spouse or significant other. On an average, there are at least 500 women that are abused each day, and over 9.5 million children that are living in an abusive home. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women, more than any other injury. The statistics for violent relationships amongst teenage girls has grown significantly, as well. Nearly one in five teenage girls have experienced some form of violence or threat of violence from their boyfriends.
Although the gravity and the violence that is endured, many women and teenage girls will not inform anyone that they are being abused. More likely than not, the abuser has alienated their victim from family, friends, and co-workers. Most victims are afraid to speak out for fear off retaliation. Victims may also have been battered for so long, that they begin to make excuses for their abuser, and are mentally incapable of making a sound decision when it comes to their safety or the safety of their children. Their spirits have been broken, and they become totally dependent upon their abuser.
As a community and a nation, we have the ability to initiate change—to put forth agendas that will and can combat domestic/intimate partner violence. There must be continued safe places for its victims. A place where victims can go, not just for safety, but for counseling, rehabilitation, and comfort. There must also be continued strides in the law concerning the perpetrators of domestic violence, with the inclusion of services that will help facilitate a change in behavior and thought processes behind the abusive behavior. Often times, serving a jail sentence only exacerbates the violence that they hold towards their victims, which will lead to them repeating the violence against the victims, more than likely leading to death.
Do you know the signs of someone being affected by domestic violence? Many victims have become experts at hiding and evading the truth. Not necessarily because they do not want help; but many feel ashamed and fearful of the consequences by the hands of their abuser. Even the countless children affected by this violence are being taught to hide and lie about what they are experiencing at home.
Are you in an abusive relationship? There are signs that can help us recognize if we, or someone we know are in an abusive relationship. For a thorough look at the signs of abuse, please check the information at the end of this article.
It is imperative that we take a stand and make every effort to help bring an end to the escalating violence that is affecting our communities. Countless lives have been touched and loss because of domestic violence. It is time to stand together and strike a crippling blow to domestic violence once and for all.
For more information and resources:
1-888-7HELPLINE (For women & men)
1-888-743-5754 (For Men)