Our View: Remember Domestic Violence Awareness month

Oct. 23, 2012 @ 08:00 AM

This month marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month across Rutherford County, the state and nation.

With that, there are so many meanings.

According to nationwide statistics, one in four women will have some kind of domestic violence experience in their lives.

But, this month also pays celebration to the survivors who, through the help of family, friends and the many different advocacy programs, have found their way out of this kind of abuse.

Regardless of whether or not you have experienced domestic violence firsthand or not, most of us have seen the impact it can have on victims and their families.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, but we find it disturbing that the situations can still be overlooked, excused and even denied.

Domestic violence is not discriminatory and can happen over a wide range of ages, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels. In Rutherford County, there were six instances of murder in 2011 and half of those stemmed from some form of domestic violence.

Women experience the most domestic violence, according to studies, however men are susceptible to emotional and verbal abuse which can even bridge to physical abuse.

What we have to understand is that there is never an instance where abusive behavior is to be accepted or tolerated.

It doesn’t matter whether it comes from a man, woman, teenager or older adult, we all have a deserving to feel valued, respected and, above all, safe.

If you are questioning whether or not you are in an abusive relationship, answer some of these questions:

• Do you feel afraid of your partner much of the time?

• Do you avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?

• Do you feel like you can’t do anything right for your partner?

• Do you believe you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?

• Does your partner have a bad and unpredictable temper?

• Does your partner hurt you, or threaten to kill you?

• Does your partner threaten to take your children away or harm them?

• Does your partner control where you go or what you will do?

• Does your partner keep you from seeing your friends or family?

• Does your partner limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?

• Does your partner threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

The more instances where you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, provided by helpguide.org, the more potential there is that you are in a dangerous situation.

And, if you are in an abusive relationship, remember that the violent and abusive behavior is the abuser’s choice, not your doing.

You should never be afraid, least of all afraid of someone you love and who professes to love you.

If you suspect domestic violence or abuse, speak up. Don’t let the thought of it being none of your business be a hurdle because you might be wrong and expressing your concern shows the person that you care about them and it might even save their life.

If you feel like you are a victim of domestic violence, call 911 or the PATH Shelter, 245-8595, 247-1440  or National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Publisher Jake Volcsko and Editor Matthew Clark