How We Can Help put a STOP to Domestic Violence
By the time you finish reading this blog, around 13 women in the United States will be assaulted or beaten. In the next 24 hours more than three women will be murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Within the next year up to 10 million children will witness domestic violence of some kind. So once you finish reading this blog and go about your day, you should take time to think about the 9,500 women in our country that will have been assaulted or beaten by the time you wake up the next morning.
Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that costs the U.S. $5.8 billion dollars per year in direct medical and health care services along with $1.8 billion in productivity loss. During such difficult economic times we should ask ourselves why are we spending billions of dollars cleaning up the mess of a problem that should not even exist? In a country founded on independence and freedom, why are so many women still being controlled and overpowered by physical, verbal, economic and sexual abuse? And most importantly, how are we going to break the silence to end domestic violence?
October 1987 marked the first Domestic Violence Awareness month. For more than 26 years, advocates, victims and survivors have used this month to help raise awareness, mourn those who have died, provide support for victims and their families, and end domestic violence. Despite the progress made over the years, we still have a long way to go. This past year the Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review 2012 Annual Reports ranked 10th in the nation for the rate men kill women, in single-victim homicides, most of which are domestic violence related murders.
October is an important month to get involved with domestic violence in your community. Any kind of outreach, education, prevention and advocacy will help to break the silence and end domestic violence. So get up and get involved!
How can we help put a STOP to Domestic Violence?
Shame- We must help end the shame and stigma that goes along with being a victim of abuse through talking about the issue. Abuse affects women across all races, religions and classes.
Teach- We can teach ourselves, friends, family and community about abuse. Abuse is about power and control, and exists in many different forms: physical, sexual, verbal, economic and emotional.
Offer- Offering support and resources for victims is a crucial way to help victims escape their abusers. Simply knowing you have someone to call or somewhere to go make a huge difference.
Prevent- Abuse is often cyclical and passed down through families. Studies have shown that boys who witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their partners when they were older than sons of nonviolent parents. Through education, awareness and services we can work towards preventing the cycle of abuse.
On November 12, Shalom Bayit, a program of Jewish Family & Careers Services’ Counseling Services – Tools for Life division and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Women & Philanthropy Division are hosting an event to help end the silence around domestic violence. This event features the play, "Not So Happily Ever After...the Very Real Stories of Some American Jewish Families" written by Mira Hirsch for Shalom Bayit. A discussion by Rabbi Analia Bortz, Shoshana Ben-Yoar, and Wendy Lipshutz will follow the performance. To purchase tickets, visit www.JewishAtlanta.org/ShalomEventFor information about Shalom Bayit, visit www.ytfl.org/shalombayit.