Domestic Violence: Awareness Can Lead To Change

Domestic violence is nothing new; what is new is the spotlight placed on this painful topic due to recent issues in the National Football League (NFL.) The scandal involving Ray Rice and his then fiancée, and other cases of domestic violence throughout the league, continues to alarm the nation.

Domestic violence is not only pervasive, it is a broader topic then recently thought. In years past, violence in the home was viewed as a man against a woman. Now we know that it also occurs with same-sex couples. Similarly, rape was believed to be an act only committed on shadowy streets or vacant parking lots. Today, we recognize that rape can be committed within the confines of marriage and the home.

No matter who the victim is, no matter what the circumstances are, a violent act committed by one person against another in the home is never acceptable nor justifiable. Here is the bottom line: why a person abuses another is irrelevant–a bad childhood, too much to drink, or they were “provoked.”

Additionally, unless a perpetrator of violence is held accountable for his or her abusive actions, the abuse will go on and on. When violence in the home continues, it only gets worse, not better, over time. What started as a slap will progress to punching, kicking and more. Those who abuse do not stop on their own. On some level it works for them because it achieves the desired end. Perhaps the end is intimidation, power or control, or the catharsis associated with hurting another person.

October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month. It is a time for Americans as a whole to expand their knowledge and recognition of what violence in the home entails; importantly, it is a time for victims to possibly reconsider their current existence and set a new course.

Many women entangled in domestic violence choose to remain in the environment, even when children are involved. The fear of the future alone is greater than the immediate fear of being abused. The questions alone are so daunting: Where will I live? How will I support myself? How will this impact my children … their school … their friends?

Fear of what the future might contain, even contemplating the question, “Will he hunt me down and kill me?” is very real. But, unless the fear is addressed and disarmed, a woman will remain paralyzed –unable to do what she needs to do in order to find safety.

Timberline Knolls recognizes this important month through guest speakers on campus, purple wristbands and stickers, a Vigil Walk for staff and residents, and donating to Guardian Angel, a local domestic violence shelter.