I was recently driving home on a beautiful fall evening, one of those days when a perfect blue sky was giving way to a beautiful sunset. As I admired the glorious colors of fall as evening approached, I also noticed the warm lights coming from neighborhood houses, making them all look inviting. I pulled into my driveway and felt that familiar feeling………………it feels so good to be home. Home should be that place where everyone is comfortable and knows that they are loved and wanted and accepted. Sometimes the chaos of dinner, homework, ballgames, housework can intrude on the peacefulness of home, but even with that, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was right……………. . there’s no place like home.
Unless……. you live in a home where domestic violence exists. When you live there, you probably drive home without noticing the beauty around you. You are not anticipating being at home with joy; you face it with fear. What am I walking into? What have I done wrong today? ……I don’t think there was anything, but I am sure there will be. No one feels comfortable, loved, wanted or accepted. This environment is difficult for everyone, but especially for children. Kids are often afraid to have friends over because they have no clue what may happen in their home. They can’t concentrate on homework, so they fall behind at school. Meals are chaotic or sometimes non-existent, so they may go to bed hungry. Sleep deprivation is common because they may be afraid to fall asleep or awakened by an incident of abuse. Studies show that being subjected to trauma at a young age can alter the normal brain development of a child. Sometimes these kids become bullies at school or become the victims of bullies. Unless their living conditions become known to the school their teachers may never know what is causing their inability to concentrate, to stay awake in class or to learn as other kids do. It is difficult, if not impossible, to learn when you are hungry, tired, angry or traumatized.
Domestic violence is a crime that happens in the home. It has long been considered to be the business only of the people who live in the home. Friends and neighbors notice signs, but traditionally have ignored them. Ignoring the violence is not the answer. Domestic violence is everyone’s business. If you hear or see evidence of abuse, call law enforcement. A victim may not want to talk about the abuse but let he or she know that you care and are available if needed. Befriend the children of the family so that they know you are a safe and caring adult. Make referrals to your local domestic violence agency. Join with us as we attempt to end domestic violence and to be sure that everyone has a safe, healthy and happy home.
Macon County 217-423-2238 (Crisis) 217-428-6616 (Business)
Dewitt County 217-935-6072 217-035-6619
Moultrie County 217-728-9334 217-728-9303
Piatt County 217-762-2122 217-762-2123
Shelby County 217-774-4888 217-774-3121
Shelby County Coordinator
Dove's Domestic Violence Program