Elk Valley Times

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Awareness can defeat domestic violence

Posted on Monday, October 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Domestic violence looks like a private problem, but nothing could be further from the truth. Any time a member of our community suffers at the hands of another, everyone suffers.

Domestic violence is a community problem.

If you’re a victim, you know it only too well. You know, deep within yourself, that there’s something terribly wrong with your situation. You know, too, that there should be a way to change it. There is help. It’s free and starts with a phone call. Simply call the Haven of Hope at 1-800-434-7739. No one but you and the person taking your call will know about it. Everything will be entirely voluntary. No one will try to tell you to leave home. Help is available whether you choose to leave your abuser or not. If you’re in immediate danger, you’ll be urged to call 911, but that, too, is up to you. You’ll simply be given information about your rights and your options.

If you’re a law enforcement officer, you know it only too well. You know the homes where disagreements turn violent. You know how much time and energy you put into trying to make sure you don’t have to go back out there. You wish you could do more.

If you’re a medical professional, you know it only too well. You know about the number and extent of injuries you’ve seen. You know about the attempts to cover up their cause. You do what you can to help the physical injuries heal, but you wish you could do more.

If you’re a judge, you know it only too well. You know that although you wish it were otherwise, there’s not much more you can do except to punish or threaten punishment. You know that in the long list of cases you must deal with each day, you have only a short time to do what you can to end this program. You wish you could do more.

If you’re an employer, you know it only too well. You know that sometimes employees don’t show up for work because loved ones have injured them. You know that sometimes it’s not the injury, but the shame, which keeps them at home. You wish you could do more.

If you’re a teacher or school counselor, you know it only too well. You know that witnessing the abuse at home is as damaging as the physical injuries. You know that children imitate what their parents model. You wish you could do more.

If you’re the friend of a victim, you know it only too well. You’ve seen the bruises, the cuts, the burns, or the look of fear in your friend’s eyes. You wish you could do more.

If you’re a victim’s neighbor, you know it only too well. You’ve heard the disturbances. You’ve been awakened by the police radios. You’ve felt the helplessness within yourself and wondered about it within the victim. You wish you could do more.

If you live in this community, you know only too well that this is too nice a place, too good a group of people, to tolerate the abuse of anyone by any other. But you know it happens.

You wish you could do more.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Make it a point to become aware of what you can do to eliminate this problem from our community.