Too many women I love have been victims of domestic violence. They’ve cried too many tears. They’ve felt too much pain and isolation.
I’ve cried with my mother as we comforted each other after an abusive episode. I’ve felt the fear, anger, and sorrow that domestic violence brings. But the hatred is the worst. I’ve wished death upon the men who hurt the women I loved. I fantasized about doing the deed myself to make the abuse end. However, I knew that more violence was not the answer.
I despised my neighbors for pretending as if nothing was wrong when I know they heard my mother’s screams and saw her scars. They refused to intervene because it was none of their business. But it was their business. Just as it is everyone’s business to help stop domestic violence.
I could have easily become an abuser. According to statistics, men who witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. However, I made a choice to end the cycle of abuse. I made a choice to end the silence and take a stand against all forms of domestic violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I encourage all readers, especially men, to join my crusade to end the abuse.
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
- The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
Last year, I made a personal pledge and I encourage all men to do the same.
Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
In most cases, men abuse female victims. It is important to remember that women can also be abusers and men can be victims.
Call to Action
- Comments for a cause: For each comment I receive on this post during the month of October, I will donate $1.00 to the Houston Area Women’s Center (Fund raising goal = $300)
- Men, please post the pledge on your blog and help spread the message. If you aren’t a blogger, share the message with your friends, family, and acquaintances.
- If you are in a violent relationship, seek help immediately (If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233).
- If you are committing acts of violence, stop. Seek counseling from a professional.
- Volunteer at your local shelter or support financially.