In October, the winds of change blow as summer gives way to fall. Trees change colors as the browns and oranges of fall replace the lush green of summer. October also brings the color purple, as the nation remembers victims and survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
For too many years, people made jokes about domestic violence. They too often laughed at the victim and empowered the abuser by just going along with what he or she did. Even if they heard or saw violence happening in their neighborhoods they “didn’t want to be involved”. For far too long it was believed that what happened in the home needed to stay in the home. Victims and children who lived in homes where violence occurred were told not to talk about it for fear of “what the neighbors would think.” Many times some of the people who acted in this way were the officials who were supposed to support the victim and stop the violence and hold the perpetrator accountable. They were supposed to treat the abuse for what it is………..a crime. A crime against the victim and a crime against the state. This behavior is unacceptable.
What is acceptable? If we could imagine utopia, what would it look like? Obviously, in a perfect world, all of us would live in harmony, each accepting and celebrating the unique differences between people……their religions, lifestyles, and culture. There would be no violence, including domestic violence. Anyone who watches TV news or accesses social media knows we are nowhere close to that in today’s society. This year, with violence in our cities and towns, with hatred spewed daily in our political races, is far from our imagined utopia. Indeed, with the media and various social media sites immersing us in vitriol and hate daily, it is almost possible to imagine how a victim of domestic violence feels.
But what can we do to change attitudes and to bring about positive changes? We can take a vow to stand together against domestic violence. By standing together, we can be sure that victims of domestic violence know that they are believed, that they are validated, and that they are supported. By standing together, we can be sure that abusers are arrested, prosecuted, and that they understand that their actions are wrong and not acceptable to society. By standing together, we can support each other as we work to end domestic violence and to ensure that families can live in homes that are safe and secure. I urge all of you to take a stand against domestic violence, to vow to do something new and different to bring us a little closer to a peaceful world.
Spread kindness and peace instead of vitriol and hate. Be the change you want to see.
Susie KensilShelby County CoordinatorDomestic Violence Program