In case, you didn’t know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM. What is DVAM? It’s a time in which many domestic violence organizations and their supporters come together to honor the ones who have lost their lives, support survivors, and those in the field work together to raise the awareness levels of the community members. Across the nation, individuals are asked to take a stand against this insidious crime. Here’s a history lesson on DVAM from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
As a man, why did I chose this topic of discussion? Well, I think it’s time for good guys to stand up for the voiceless. It’s not enough to agree, that harming your loved ones is bad. Yes, that’s true! But, are you willing to talk to your abusive friend? Can you point your neighbor, who’s been abused, to the closest resource (NDVH or to DV experts in your local area) for help? Or, do we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? That is my fear. All to often, victims feel alone due to the isolation from friends and families. The days of worrying, only, for your four and no more are not going to cut it. People are losing their lives on a daily basis. Children are experiencing trauma from growing up in a home with an abusive parent using power and control over their partner. It’s about time to connect what we know inside of our heads as wrong to how we feel in our hearts about the wrong doing being done in this society.
What is domestic violence? Simply put! It’s when an individual exerts their will by any means necessary on another person. That can happen in many forms, i.e. physical, sexual, emotional, intimidation, threats, coercion, and financial abuse. Typically, the most common form of violence is physical in nature. Most of us are familiar with the physical laying of hands on a partner. Here are a few stats about domestic violence:
- 1 in 3 women & 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
- 1 in 4 women & 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 7 women & 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
- It takes a person 7 attempts to leave and not return to a domestic violence situation. Once they leave, they are at the greatest danger of losing their lives.
If you’ve never experienced this inside of your home or with a family member, consider yourself blessed. It’s not an easy, but the support is necessary if the survivor desires the help. I’ve spent the last 15+ years working with families, that have been torn apart. They’ve come to live in shelters, with very few things from their homes, searching for a place of solace. A place of peace where they don’t have to walk on egg shells. For the first time in a long time, some are able to rest without fear. Unfortunately, for some, fear is ever present. And, even though, they are experiencing a place of peace and rest. Many are dealing with the shame and guilt associated with being a survivor of the abuse. For those of us in the field, we dedicate our lives to facilitate the healing process. Unfortunately, not all will find their healing. But, we continue to fight and educate. Most importantly, we love!