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Thursday, October 2, 2014

What if it was happening to someone you love…


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month which was first observed in October 1987.  It is a crucial time set aside to raise as well as create awareness, educate the communities around us, and help stop domestic violence.  After 27 years of creating and raising awareness domestic violence continues to be a silent epidemic here in America.  It is an issue that should and must be considered and focused on throughout the year not only in the month of October.


As a survivor of severe physical domestic violence raising and creating awareness alongside educating others is not only close to my heart but so desperately needed.  Take for instance the ignoring and silence that recently took place within the NFL when faced with domestic violence incidents.  (Since January 2000, 77 NFL players were involved in 85 domestic violence incidents.)  After the occurrences that took place recently Commissioner Roger Goodell announced their new policies on domestic violence validating their pledge to end domestic violence after controversy was created and people began to question the league.


This blog post is not about the NFL and the mixed messages they sent in the wake of the recent situations.  It was a perfect example of how, many people still turn their heads when domestic violence issues arise.  Unfortunately, we cannot create controversy with every individual who still believes it is not their business or just remains silent, not doing anything to help the victim, into seeing the error of their ways.  What we can do is create awareness, educate, and provide statistics so more people realize the toll domestic violence inflicts onto the victims and how serious the epidemic truly is in the United States.

            The next time you find yourself in a small group of people, look around you and think of these statistics:

  • One in four men and one in three women have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • One in seven men and one in five women have experienced SEVERE physical domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • Nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical domestic violence, on average, in the United States.  This equals more than 10 million men and women within one year alone.
  • One man and three women are murdered by their partner every day, on average, in America.
  • Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who has been abused by a partner.


Those are some startling statistics are they not?  Now you know why it is referred to as an epidemic here in the United States.  Oh, and part of the reason it is called silent is because the majority of abuse goes unreported to police officers and other officials.  The other reasons are due to outsiders not “Speaking Up” and the fact that men are less likely to report or talk about being abused because they are not taken seriously.

Wondering how to identify someone being abused?  Well, there are telltale signs and symptoms of domestic violence.  Click the link to read them all > WarningSigns!  If you witness any of the warning signs in a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or acquaintance please take them very seriously!  It is so very important to “Speak Up” if you suspect someone you know is being abused.  Remember that by expressing your concern it will let the other person know that you care and it might just save his or hers life. 


Make sure that you DO ask if something is wrong, express concern, listen and validate, offer help, and support his or her's decisions.  But whatever you do, DO NOT wait for them to come to you, judge or blame, pressure him or her, give advice, and most definitely DO NOT place conditions on your support.

So for those who know abuse is occurring but still believe it is not their business and remain silent, I am here to say it IS everyone’s business!  Just think what if it was happening to someone you loved?  Would you remain silent then?  My hope is that you would not keep quiet and that you would privately talk to your loved one.  That you would offer to help and support them unconditionally while making a plan for their safe escape.

In an emergency situation where you fear for your life/safety or that of another do not hesitate to call 911 immediately.  Below is a list of Domestic Violence Hotlines both here in America and internationally as well.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233
               *They are there to provide confidential and anonymous support to victims, friends, and family.
 

The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline1-866-331-9474


 American Domestic Violence Crisis Line (Americans living overseas)
3300 NW 185th #133, Portland, OR 97229
Phone 1-866-879-6636, Website www.866uswomen.org 


 Domestic Violence & Incest Resource Centre (Australia)
Website www.dvirc.org.au
 

 Hot Peach Pages - Worldwide List of Agencies Against Domestic Violence
Website www.hotpeachpages.net
 


 UNIFEM, United Nations Development for Women
Website www.unifem.org
 


 Women's Aid (United Kingdom)
Website www.womensaid.org.uk
 


 Women's Link Worldwide (Western Europe and Latin America)
Website www.womenslinkworldwide.org
 


 Statistics and facts for this blog post came from the following sources:


The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

HELPGUIDE.org

American Psychological Association

NO MORE

USA Today

Fox News




 © 2014 Lysa Wilds