October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year we’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about domestic violence in the media because of what started with Ray Rice and the NFL. I think it’s good to get this issue out in the open so that we can talk about it, because as one survivor said, “Silence is a killer”. At the same time, these conversations should have been taking place long before now, and they have been, but on a much smaller scale. What we know is that domestic violence is a global issue that impacts people every day. “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States.” And “1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.” The National Coalition against Domestic Violence says that, “Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.”
In light of these statistics and facts, I think we can agree that domestic violence is a communal issue that deserves our attention. And my experience is that businesses and churches and individuals are committed to supporting organizations such as Lydia’s House with their donations and financial support and even their time as they attend fundraising events or volunteer. These are all very important ways in which we can raise awareness of domestic violence and support the organizations that are helping individuals after they have experienced violence in their homes.
What we cannot forget is that even as we continue to support places such as Lydia’s House, even as we hear in the media the horrible truth of domestic violence, more women and children are being abused every day. These women and children are living in our neighborhoods, attending our schools and churches, shopping in the same grocery stores, and riding in the same Metrolink car. During any given day we may cross paths with women who are being abused without even knowing it. And so we will continue to raise awareness of domestic violence, supporting the survivors who have escaped the abuse, and spreading the message that no one deserves to be abused.