As the month of October ends; so does Domestic Violence Awareness Month. That means no more purple ribbons to display, no more banners with statistics, no more rally’s, talks, events or walks, no more buttons, pins, or safety plans, no more hearing brave victims stories etc., etc., etc. No more Domestic Violence right…WRONG!!! The month may be over but Domestic Violence occurs 24/7 – 365 days a year and so should the discussion.
Some statistics indicate that every 9 seconds someone is experiencing domestic violence or intimate partner violence. These statistics also state that 1 in 3 women are impacted. Therefore, this means that if it is not you, then guaranteed it is the people on either side of you to your left & right. So why don’t we continuously talk about it beyond October? I will tell you why because of the shame, the stigma, the undermining of the real impact it has on the person. You see the incident may only occur within those 9 seconds. However, the impact often last a lifetime and effects more than just the victim but everyone around him or her. Their family, their kids, their co-workers, and their community the list goes on.
The time-period after the abuse has stopped is called the “Aftermath”. This is the time when the person is merely trying to survive. They are trying to piece their life back together again. Dealing with protection orders from abuse, the court system, trying to keep safe, keep a job, income etc. This aftermath comes with a “Sacrifice” and a “Cost”. The sacrifice and cost may pertain to their kids by either losing them to the system of fighting to keep them. The cost may come with the triggers from the memories, constant reminders, and the continued suffering in silence long after the abuse has ended.
That last one is important because not only are we kept silent during the abuse but we remain silent afterwards too. This is why domestic violence needs to be talked about all the time. The examples given are just a few of many that have a lasting effect on the now survivor and her family. Nevertheless, no one wants to talk about it. Well, it is time to “Be the Voice” and speak up about all aspects of domestic violence. Speaking up is not about the abuser rather it is about setting you free so other people can are aware 24/7 – 364 and can then learn to speak up too.
Years ago, I decided to speak up. I chose to talk about what happen to me because I knew it would give people hope. I chose to Be the Voice and tell my story until someone gets the courage and is no longer embarrassed or afraid to tell theirs.
When we can talk about Domestic Violence, the things that happen afterwards, the sacrifices that are made to stay safe and the cost to our mind, body, and spirit we create a new narrative. It doesn’t become so taboo, frowned upon, or ignored anymore. Just imagine when we speak about it people will no longer have to suffer in silence or at all.
If you or you know someone who is experiencing domestic violence please get help, create a safety plan, seek professional advice/counseling, provide or get a support system and most importantly speak up.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline