Thursday, November 13, 2014

Domestic Violence Awareness

Last month was Domestic Violence awareness month and I had intended to post this then, but life got in the way; so here we are two weeks late.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness that there are people out there that are suffering abuse at the hands of loved ones. People who are beaten and battered either physically, emotionally or verbally. My question is why? Why is only October set aside to raise awareness. How about Domestic Violence Awareness Year, Decade, Century or Millennia? The problem is epidemic; shouldn’t the effort to make people aware be just as large?

People need to be reminded that there is a problem. If they don’t see it they ignore it. Out of sight out of mind, as they say. Worse, they think the solution is simple. To the woman being beaten by her husband they say leave. To the children being abused by parents the say call OCY/CYS/CPS. They don’t realize that it isn’t so cut and dried. The woman may be afraid of what her spouse will do if she tries to leave and statistics show that children are more likely to be abused in the custody of OCY/CYS/CPS than in their own home.

Then of course there are the men that are abused by their wives or girlfriends. We don’t hear about them because men aren’t comfortable being seen as a victim, especially a victim of a woman. It’s a stigma that keeps the abuse underreported and out of the public consciousness. It’s a shame; no, it’s a crime.

Somewhere, right now, a woman is being choked into unconsciousness by her husband, a man is being run down by his wife, a child is being thrown across the room because his brother splashed water on the bathroom floor. While you sit reading this, safe and warm, a child is locked in a cupboard, a woman is being told that she is an ungrateful, worthless whore and a man is being beat with a cricket bat. Enjoy your coffee.

“But, what can I do?” you ask. Talk about the issue, get involved, donate your time or money to a domestic violence shelter. Educate yourself about the issue and then educate others. Whatever you do just don’t shrug it off and leave it to others. Doing that is tantamount to helping the abusers perpetrate their unspeakable evil. Don’t be a passive accomplice; be the voice of the victim! Many of them have no voice of their own and they need us to speak up.

(Pharos Publishing is putting together a Domestic Violence charity anthology to raise money and awareness. If you are an author who would be willing to donate a story to that volume contact me and I will put you in contact with its editor.)