Ending violence in the home is a national imperative that requires vigilance and dedication from every sector of our society. We need to stand with the advocates, law enforcement and our criminal justice system. Why do I mention standing with the police? Domestic Violence calls are the biggest reason police officers are injured on the job. To confuse things, there are many officers who also are abusers. This is a place to build on. These people need encouragement because they give a lot to some of our weakest citizens. I did help start a shelter and worked there as my second job for over two decades. I wish I could explain what it is like to bring a bleeding, broken women with her terrified, crying children into a shelter. You have to give, you have to remain strong and you have to decide if medical care is needed and if children need hugs and you to tell them that now they are safe or do they just need food and to go to sleep. Domestic Violence is full of mostly unsung heroines and heroes who often put their lives on the line for strangers. They are dedicated to saving lives.
Children view and hear more during a domestic quarrel that the parents realize. Children suffer more than I can tell you. When you are young and the two most important people in your world are in an abusive relationship, you live in a house than isn’t a home because it isn’t safe anymore. Children need to know there are adults who care and will help them. They need to know they are important and loved.
Women experience more than four million physical assaults and rapes due to intimate partners a year. Men are victims of nearly three million physical assaults a year. However,women are more likely to die due to abuse in the home. Women are in the most danger when they are trying to leave an abusive intimate relationship. I lost two women to their abusers. It is devastating and even though I have saved hundreds of lives, I always remember the two who died. One woman opened the door to her new apartment that we had assisted her to get, and the abuser was standing there with a shotgun and killed her in front of her children.
Every year, more than three million children witness violence in their homes. Children who live in abusive homes also suffer abuse or neglect. Why neglect? Because they are terrified and Mom might be in the hospital, or in bed bruised and crying and in pain. Cracked ribs, broken fingers, bruising so intense she can hardly move make it difficult to take care of a woman’s children. Children go through terrible emotional swings and anger issues. They love their parents, but they are also angry. They soon realize that their friends don’t live this way. It is difficult to make meals, do laundry, help with homework and hundreds of other things that are necessary in any home. Children who live in violent homes also suffer abuse and are also confused about their emotions. They love their parents and yet they want the violence to end.
Domestic Violence Hotline is 800+621-HOPE. You are not alone. There is hope and people who will stand up for you. You can begin an abuse free life.