Friday, October 18, 2013

Silent Shame-- We Can Break that Silence

It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I'm speaking with a lot of people about the issue.Last week I spoke on the phone with Saratoga Today reporter Patricia Older. I had a week off work so I'm a bit backlogged on my reading. I just picked up last week's Saratoga Today and read Patricia's article, Domestic Violence-- The Silent Shame... and it took my breath away. She poignantly captures the fear, the shock, and the lingering sense of danger even after leaving the relationship.

After recounting Erica's horrific story of abuse, Patricia Older writes:
 Domestic violence is that dirty little secret
we don’t want anyone to know about when it happens to us.
The abused and abuser usually go through great lengths to hide
what is happening in their lives—
they hide the bruises, the loud, out-of-control arguments, the threats, the violence.
It knows no social, cultural or economic boundaries and comes in many forms—
social isolation, threats, financial control, physical abuse.

What you can do:
Domestic violence thrives in the shadows of secrecy. Help to bring it out of the shadows. Talk about this crime that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men. Talk to your children about the red flags of abuse, talk with friends, and if you're concerned about someone in your life, talk with them about your concerns and let them know there is help. It's hard to start that conversation, but bringing the topic of relationship abuse into the light decreases the stigma an abuse victim feels. Each time you talk about domestic violence, you bring light to this issue... and each time you talk about it the words become easier to say. So today, have a conversation with someone...anyone.

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