October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Rice
Ray and Janay Rice on May 1, 2014 arriving at the Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse. (photographer: Mel Evens-AP photo)

In the wake of the domestic violence reports with Ray Rice, former NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens, DomesticViolence Month is just around the corner starting in October. It is sad to see that domestic violence still a common occurrence, and that many are so surprised by the violent act.

Janay Rice has released an apology for her part in the “cringe” worthy scene caught on the elevator surveillance video released by TMZ. In hindsight it cannot be easy for the abused  to leave  an abuser. Knowing this, I was still shocked she should defend her man so adamantly to the point of being upset with the media, NFL, and the horrified public who sympathized with her plight. I must admit that I became angry, and suddenly became unsympathetic. However, after thinking about it, and seeing some images of Janay Rice walking eyes down I realized I had no room to judge. Then there was the article published by Huffington Post titled, #WhyIStayed Stories Reveal Why Domestic Violence Survivors Can’t ‘Just leave’, which explains why the abused tend to stay or seemingly support their partner’s behavior.

For many, domestic violence is behavior hard to accept, and hearing an abused person downplaying it and attacking others for punishing the abuser is even more confusing. Domestic violence leaves emotional and psychological scars along with physical reminders of abuse. According to the National Network To End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a 24 hour study in 2009 showed that domestic violence programs served around 65,000 daily along 23,000 phones calls answered by crisis hotlines daily. Imagine these are the incidents reported and acknowledged. NNEDV has a FAQ to help people understand what occurs in a relationship filled with domestic violence, and the stigma that still exists with it today.

Domestic violence touches everyone regardless of sex, class, education, or race. A 2001 study by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics showed, that while 85% were female victims at least 15% included gay and lesbians relationships and men who were abused by female partners. In many cases there are signs leading to an abusive relationship, but they can be so subtle a person may not realize it until it’s too late. The best way to avoid an abusive relationship is to be aware of the signs. Some examples from NNEDV are:

  • They insist on moving too quickly into a relationship.

  • They can be very charming and may seem too good to be true.

  • They insist that you stop participating in leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.

  • They are extremely jealous or controlling.

  • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.

  • They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.

  • Their words and actions don’t match.

Domestic violence does not have to be a part of your life. If you or anyone you know is in a domestic violent relationship call for help. Give yourself a voice again.

For help and assistance call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

  • Hotline advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to provide confidential crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Assistance is available in English and Spanish, with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.

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