Hello - meet Daniel. He is 8 years old and lives with his Mom and Dad in a nice 3 bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood. Daniel is always well kept and taken care of; however, he is often sad and withdrawn. He has a hard time staying focused at school and has recently started getting in fights.
What others don=t know is there is a secret of what has been happening at home. Daniel loves his Mommy and Daddy so much but sadly, to him, it seems like they don=t love each other. They fight constantly; his dad screams at his mom, curses her and says very hurtful things to her. Recently, Daniel has seen his dad punch his mom really hard, pulled her by her hair and also break things in the house and punch holes in the walls.
Sometimes Daniel runs and hides but he=s a big boy and he wants to protect his mom. At times he has gotten in between his parents, screaming at his dad to stop. One time, he saw his dad pull out a knife and threatened his mom with it and Daniel yelled out that he was going to call the police. But B his mom stopped him and told him everything was going to be ok.
Daniel just knows to keep this secret because he=s afraid his dad might go to jail or he will be taken away from his parents and his home. He has even asked his mom why they can=t leave and she always tells him she doesn=t want to get a divorce and that she loves his daddy.
And B so the story goes B and often continues B over and over. Each year, over 3 million children are witnesses to domestic violence. 90% are aware of what is going on in their home and 60% of them are victims of the abuse themselves! Domestic violence is a crime! A woman is beaten every 9 seconds!
There are so many barriers that keep victims in an abusive relationship but the bottom line is the abuser has power and control over them and fear itself will keep them there. Likewise, most victims don=t want the relationship to end B they just want the abuse to stop.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is important to support your local domestic violence program here at Dove, Inc. Domestic violence occurs every day of every month of every year. It crosses all boundaries and affects the rich, poor, educated and uneducated and those of any race, gender, and socio-economic background. Please join me in taking a stand again domestic violence in our community. Attend our annual Candlelighting Ceremony on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., at St. John=s Episcopal Church, 130 W. Eldorado (on corner of Church and Eldorado Streets).
Teri Ducy, DirectorDove Domestic Violence Program