Let’s Talk about Domestic Violence
Jesus once said, “All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open.”
Domestic violence is often hidden beneath the veneer of polite society. We mask it, denying the abuse, the pain and the suffering. Abusers and abused go about their day as if all was well, and nobody notices the signs of struggle that are there.
This last month, a series of high-profile athletes were accused of domestic violence. Suddenly everybody is talking about it. This is good. It’s time we brought it out into the open, educated ourselves and learned how to deal with it.
A recent survey by the CDC found that one in three women and one in four men had “experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” It also found that one in four women and one in seven men had been “hit with a fist or something hard, beaten, slammed against something” by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence takes many forms. It can be physical, verbal, emotional, financial or sexual. Domestic violence is most often employed by men against women or adults against children, but many men are victims of abusive behavior, as well.
All have one thing in common: using force to gain and maintain control over another person. Domestic violence is a way of stealing power from others, intimidating them through pain, threats and confusion until they submit to the will of the abuser.
Domestic violence is always wrong. Abuse is always wrong. There is no excuse, and we must not accept it in our midst.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s an issue that is with us year-round, but this month has been set aside to draw extra attention to the reality of this hidden epidemic.
This is a time to mourn and lament with those who suffer, often silently. It’s a time to reach out to those who are victims and survivors, offering a kind word and a helping hand. It’s a time to stop making excuses and justifying the behavior of violent men and women.
It’s also a good time to learn more about domestic violence, by reading and studying and watching online tutorials. One great resource is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ncadv.org). I’d encourage you to take some time educating yourself, so we’re all better equipped to deal with this issue.
There are people reading this who are victims of abuse; there are abusers reading this, as well. Get help. Talk to a friend, a pastor, a counselor, a police officer. There’s no shame in asking for help. But realize this: it won’t change until steps are taken to deal with it.
It begins with bringing it into the open, and recognizing it in our midst. Whether it’s you, or a friend, please take some time this month to learn more about domestic violence. Let’s bring this hidden pain out into the open and take away its power, restoring people into the fullness of life which we all deserve.