The fight to raise awareness about domestic violence suffers from an identity crisis, largely because it is observed in October – the same as Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“The reality is, domestic violence impacts more women than breast cancer, cervical cancer and diabetes combined,” said Samantha Lee, community education marketing specialist for Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
“A lot of people think women can’t help it if they get breast cancer, but they can change their situation with domestic violence.
“A lot people rally more around breast cancer because there is a preconceived notion these (victims) can choose the situation – that they can choose not to be victims of domestic abuse.”
“Domestic violence and sexual assault often occur together,” Lee said.
“It’s all about education. We have to think proactively and help victims learn when things don’t make sense in a relationship, like extreme jealousy, to seek help.”
Lee said domestic violence boils down to power and control.
“It’s a choice abusers make to assert power and control over the victims,” Lee said.
“With technology, teens think that it’s OK for a partner to say let me check up on your text or phone calls. But that’s a power issue.”
Lee said that on average nationally, one in four women are victims of abuse of some sort. The most common age of victims is from 16 to 24.
“We often think of domestic violence as occurring with older, married couples, but it often starts early,” Lee said. “And if not corrected early, they think that’s normal in a relationship, and it only gets worse.”
Victims can access agency services even if they do not enter a shelter.
Services, minus the shelter, also are available to men.
Lee said that nationally, 85 to 95 percent of domestic violence crime victims are women. She said male victims often remain silent.
“In 2014, if women are embarrassed to come forward, I can only imagine men are, too,” Lee said.
The issue has been thrust into the national spotlight in large part because of incidents involving NFL players Ray Rice, Adrian Petersen, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald – all accused of domestic violence.
Lee said the NFL situation has emboldened some victims to come forward and seek help. (From an article by Chris Buckley)
Someone who has make me very aware is Tamron Hall from the Today show. Click below for her very personal story.
So many places to go for help:
Or you can just google Domestic Violence.
DON’T stay in a bad situation. There is help for you. Just ask.
http://www.ilovethatgift.com/ supports finding an end to Domestic Violence.
http://www.ilovethatgift.com/ home to La Vie Parisienne, Mariana, Simon Sebbag, Silent Whispers and Dogeared.