I was walking through Washington Square Park last week and there was a gathering of people chanting something, with stickers being worn and signs being thrust into the air. I had no idea what they were demonstrating for or against, so, me being me, I walked over and asked.
“What cause is this for?”
“VAWA!” An elderly lady shouted at me. “Do you want a sign?”
“No, thanks, but what is VAWA?”
“Its an act we are trying to push through congress, ‘Violence against women act.'”
“There has to be an act condemning violence again any human being?”
“We must keep reminding people that this is still a major issue…”
Violence against women – I know it exists, obviously. I have never truly focused on it, I just felt it should go without saying – there should be no violence against anyone really.
But I turn on the TV and I see Rihanna sitting with her boyfriend who basically beat her up because she was using her cell phone, holding his hand and smiling.
An Olympic star, with no legs who inspired millions of people by running in the Olympics shoots his girlfriend as she hides behind the bathroom door.
A news Anchor chokes his wife and he smiles into the camera, bloody nose and all. She than releases a statement saying the situation was “Overblown.”
Domestic Violence Statistics*
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
How can this be a cause which is constantly thrown under the table? People, celebrities and politicians speak about being Liberals or Living by the Bible – how can this violence be tolerated?
This stat is what perplexes me more then anything else – On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good.**
When a famous, rich and talented person such as Rihanna gets beat up by her boyfriend who is then found guilty and sentenced it is a chance for that woman to lead by example. But when she goes back to him and performs a song called, “Nobody’s Business,” it sends the wrong message to people.
There are women in my community who are involved in an abusive – physically or emotionally – relationship.
I once had a quick conversation with someone I was once friends with – she told me that it was her fault when her husband would scream at her. That she was too needy or complained too much. The first time he hit her, he cried and apologized. The second time he hit her she cried and apologized. I haven’t spoken to her since that conversation.
When does it become our place to say something?
When does it become our place to get between a husband and wife?
How can we do something before its too late?
We must raise awareness within our own communities. We must not live in denial thinking it could and does not ever happen “Here.”
It does happen “Here.”
Abuse of any kind should never be tolerated; even more-so when a loved one abuses a spouse or a child, that is something tantamount to murder. I say that because the pain inflicted by someone you should feel safe with can cause a bullet hole within ones soul that can never heal. Be it from a sibling, a parent or a spouse. This problem exists “Here.”
Living in denial of a problem will not make that problem disappear. We must admit this is an issue that will never go away on its own.