“In every community, there is work to be done.Marianne Williamson
In every nation, there are wounds to heal.
In every heart, there is the power to do it.”
The statistics on domestic violence are not fun or glamorous to read. It aggravates our emotions and causes us to want to look away. However, THIS is the very behavior that FUELS these statistics. Communities continue to turn their backs on women and children in harmful and, potentially, deadly situations. We are ignoring the cries for help, the looks of fear, and the suspicious behaviors – all to save face, not rock the boat and mind our own business. Meanwhile, there are women and children among us who are living a nightmare. Domestic abuse and sexual abuse is running rampant throughout our community. Here’s what you need to know.
Facts on abuse.
How many children do you know right now. Think about your children, their friends, schools, church groups, and neighborhoods. One in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual abuse by their 18thbirthday? Or, did you know that the largest percent (25%) of abuse and neglect occurs before a child turns 1 year old?
Children living in a home with violence are 15 TIMES more likely to experience abuse physically and/or sexually than the national average. An average of 75% of urban police and 35% of rural police’s time is responding to family violence calls. Seventy percent of men who batter their wives also batter their children. Sixty-two percent of sons older than 14 will be hurt when they attempted to protect their mothers from a male abuser.
Every two minutes 40 counts of domestic abuse occurs.
Has the wind left your sails. Is your perfect day dimmer because you can’t get these facts and mental images out of your head? Good. Because you’ve just experienced a slight inconvenience to your day knowing the truth about what is happening in your neighborhood, your church, your local school, possibly even the next room. All of the facts show that this is happening, and happening often.
Resources say that children learn from their experiences; this includes learning violence. Therefore, children who grow up in violent homes are:
- 4x more likely to be arrested by police
- 6x more likely to commit suicide
- 50x more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
- Abusive homes cause children to show more anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, anger, and various temperament problems.
Hello to America’s mental health and drug crisis…
The reach of abuse
If you think this doesn’t impact your family you are OH SO WRONG. These horrific actions are running rampant throughout our communities and the individuals under attack are in your child’s classroom or daycare, and soon to be in the work place with you. You, yourself, are surrounded by hurting adults, who are still impacted from their childhood. Maybe it’s the person who smiles at work and then goes home to a version of hell every night. You, over there, living in your perfect cookie-cutter house, making good money, taking vacations and posting perfect pictures to Facebook – you’re not exempt.
Abuse and neglect DO NOT discriminate and cross every socioeconomic boundary.
The cost of abuse
As a result, society is quickly damaging one generation after another generation; cranking out hurting hearts, unstable minds, and replications of abusers at a fast pace. This impacts society’s safety and wallets. According to a 2018 estimate, the lifetime cost of ONE woman who has experienced domestic abuse is $103,767. Multiply that by the 50% of woman who experience domestic violence within their lifetime. In addition, the federal government spends an estimated $55 billion annually dealing with the effects of childhood exposure to domestic violence. Hence, the monetary results of abuse are enormous and are lacking to say the least.
What can we do?
I have attached an insightful video by Cindy Dryer, who is the VP of Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership. If you have 18 minutes to watch, please take the time to do so. It’s important to educate yourself on this topic in order to be aware and she is a great resource. Her action items are:
- provide comprehensive services for victims or support/donate to resources that do
- expanded legislation (write letters to your representatives)
- demand our court system to aggressively charge perpetrators
- be advocates for women and children (educate and spread awareness)
Although her action items are large in scope, think of the analogy of how to eat an elephant – one bite at a time. Are there smaller bite size pieces where you could help, such as creating awareness or volunteer at a shelter? Was there something in this blog that you weren’t previously aware of? Share this blog or other resources that you come across so others can become educated too. The point is to get it out in the open. Get people talking about it. Shine the light on domestic violence and don’t give it a place to hid. When we can expose what is happening, we can identify it and put an end to it.
“The defendant is reliant that you will not get involved. Reliant on you saying ‘not your problem’.
Lastly, to mothers raising our future men, we need to do EVERYTHING possible to teach them that abusing women and children, in anyway, is not acceptable. There are multiple resources around this being a ‘man issue’. I’ll share more about that in the future. Cindy addresses men by saying, “It’s not enough to be non-violent because we need to create a society of complete intolerance.” I’ll leave you with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
“History will have no record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope you feel inspired to do something. Anything. Because even talking about it creates awareness. Just do something! Share this with a lady you love or a man in your life. Remember, YOU are a lady well-loved. Make sure women around you know they are loved too and if you are in need of services or additional resources, be sure to visit the Safe Haven page. Take care, Lady.
Photo credit to: Hand image created by Freepik