Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

By R.D.

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Beyond October: It arose from a day of unity led by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981, with purple serving as the official color.

This global public health issue will not be resolved because many partners will continue to abuse, and there will be more victims before and after October.

Simply put, domestic violence is more than just one fight. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably is. Domestic violence abuse, on the other hand, can take many forms, including physical, mental, social, and economic abuse.

Domestic violence does not discriminate based on
Socio-Economic Status
Sexual Orientation
National  Origin; and regardless of the season.

For several years, I have participated in a three-mile walk during the fall season. This is a community event designed not only to support victims of domestic violence, but also to raise awareness about his frequently unseen killer; participants include members of the law enforcement community, advocates, treatment providers, and other support groups.

During my annual walk, I am frequently reminded of the impoverished victims in poor and developing countries, as well as many immigrant communities around the world, who have few or no resources.

Domestic Violence’s Challenges, Revictimization, Blame Game, and Faces

Unfortunately, many victims do not come forward because they fear having to defend themselves in public, especially with today’s social media.

It is often difficult to leave these toxic relationships because of additional fear, economic reasons, children may be involved, and sometimes the perpetrators are powerful and well-respected members of the community. As a result, many victims continue to sympathize with the perpetrator.

Photo by Liza Summer

Furthermore, in many poor and developing countries, when a victim comes forward, conversations about the case begin with the victim being interrogated. As a result, obtaining appropriate intervention or medical assistance becomes difficult.

Even more problematic is some people’s re-victimization attitude as if they deserved it.

What caused her or him to be abused?….. Why didn’t she/he leave?

But, it appears, no one ever asked an offender, whether in jail, school, church, or the community, why the abuse occurred.

Many victims, and even those tasked with assisting them, may deflect or minimize, or lack the necessary training as a first responder to create a safe space for the victim. This is why training is essential for reducing potential implicit bias.

It is never the victim’s fault, whether the victim is subjected to forced sexual activities, intimidation, stalking, social isolation, economic manipulation, or deprivation, such as being denied access to medical treatment.

Who are the real victims of domestic violence?

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, both men and women can be victims of this type of situation, but women are more often than not the victims. In 70-80% of cases, men are found to be the abusers of women, and without intervention, the women are frequently murdered..

Domestic violence affects approximately 25 to 40% of men. However, because of the stigma attached to it, this, as well as the perception of weakness, is frequently overlooked.

According to UN figures, 137 women are killed every day around the world by a partner or member of their own family – a total of 50,000 women per year murdered by people they know and should be able to trust; a partner, ex-spouse, or some dating partner kills one woman every 14 hours.

Data is more than just numbers.

According to several academic international journals, domestic violence accounted for approximately 19% of the total burden of healthcare for women. Victims who lost days of work alone cost an estimated 5.1 to $6.8 billion dollars, which equates to approximately 32,000 full-time jobs.

Domestic violence cases account for more than half of all police response calls, outnumbering robbery, motor vehicle theft, and burglary. Many studies have found that even after the violence has stopped, victims continue to use the healthcare system more than others.

Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused or neglected, according to studies.

Young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years old are 2.41 times as likely to experience physical violence. Over three million children witness domestic brutality in their homes every year. 

Domestic violence extends beyond the primary victim; it can result in child trafficking from a runaway child who fled a violent home. According to the UN, approximately 15 million young girls are victims worldwide each year.

Beyond the COVID-19 Mask.

Admitting to being a victim may be a delicate balance of power and status. As a result, some people are left in the dark. This type of behavior is not restricted by one’s title or position. Power and control are still used to abuse women and men.

Photo by Anete Lusina

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, fear, and frustration, experts have reported an increase in domestic violence cases involving unemployed individuals, some of whom are depressed or have other mental health issues, and where there are ongoing conflicts in these relationships.

Domestic violence is still taboo and hidden in some of these communities that share our roots, culture, and heritage. Furthermore, imagine countless others being abused today off-camera, due to a lack of support, and outdated ideology, for every abuse captured on camera.

Despite the breathtaking scenery and wide-open fields, beautiful shorelines, and white sand, not all victims, including perpetrators of domestic violence, recognize a safe place to go for help.

Domestic violence abuse often goes unnoticed in many of these communities. A beautiful sunglass may conceal the scars of a violent relationship, which may be disguised as a day trip to the beach, a corner store, or church, but taking this walk with me for awareness could have a positive and long-lasting impact.

Photo by RODNAE

The lingering shadow and struggle to break free from some historic belief.

This October has provided another opportunity to look deeper beyond gender stereotypes, masculinity, and sexuality, all of which can obstruct self-observation.

Experts also noted that, despite the efforts of a few groups, classes tend to remain in the shadows. They are understaffed, frequently close abruptly, and offenders frequently require the cooperation of law enforcement to ensure that they attend treatment programs.

When treatment programs are available, dropout rates remain high, and victims will use cultural reasons to justify their absence. According to experts, the lack of resources suffocated by poverty can make it difficult to connect families or victims to programs in many Latin American, African, and Caribbean communities, as well as other poor and developing areas.

Fear of losing solely financial support, economic status, racial intolerance, and social stratification; many victims remain silent while navigating the cultural and legal complexities that cause further isolation.

Despite increased rights and a growing shift toward gender equity, equality, and even upward mobility into leadership positions for women, this does not always result in increased awareness.

Some regions’ challenges; wrongdoers with 16th-century mentalities; and cultural beliefs that see women’s role in society as property and bearer of their children have all contributed to the cycle of violence.

Some men who hold deeply held beliefs may believe they have the right to control women and that women are not equal to men. Scholars have noted that the dehumanization of black females who were relegated to the kitchen is linked to colonialism, where slavery’s tragic period cannot be ignored.

Even though many people are still suffering psychologically as a result of the colonial tragic past, the mistreatment of some women cannot be attributed solely to that dark period, and we must debunk it.

Is it time for a new treatment program?

Domestic violence creates a pattern of psychological barriers to overcoming traumatic experiences, which have long-term negative consequences.

Because a victim may not have a visible scar, the nonintervention mentality must end. Many studies have found that even after the violence has stopped, victims continue to use the healthcare system more than others.

Whether in Barbados, Boston, or the United Kingdom, or as a gay person living under a bridge in the Caribbean, being victimized should make no difference: It hurts everywhere, and everyone must work together to develop solutions to this problem, including victims, advocates, providers, law enforcement, and even previous offenders.

Is your community doing enough to bring this issue to light, or should political leaders wear victims of domestic violence on campaign buttons?

Aside from the light, camera, and dance:

Before COVID-19, many cultural colors would have emerged in the summer for celebrations, dancing to the latest Soca, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Reggae, and Latin rhythms, African Beats, or any other cultural events around the world, but beneath many of these costumes, and one love vibes beats; someone is hurting from the perpetrator of violence’s irrational decisions.

Looking back on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, while medical advances made it a manageable disease, it was through awareness and accountability that many communities were able to reduce stigma.

We must move away from minimization, acknowledge and create a more safe space for victims, and hold abusers accountable for their actions.

No one is immune from violence:

As studies have shown, violence and death within the LGBTQ community have increased since 2010 and continue today due to ignorance and taboo; even by straight offenders who may struggle with homosexual tendencies.

Our society is becoming more accepting today, with advocates promoting equality, but it has been a long and winding road. Some social, religious, and political groups continue to regard lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships as sinful and morally repugnant.

It is more difficult for a victim in these communities to seek and receive help in an abusive relationship because of their identity.

No, you do not need to be a member of the LGBTQ community or a victim to support these organizations.

I hope that the next time you walk or run in purple, or even stand under a banner for victims’ rights, you think about how many stories are being told in silence, and how many are unable to get a like on social media due to a lack of resources and awareness.

Making people aware of the need to change course begins with you and your community. Please use your platform because, while we appear to be closer than ever in terms of social media awareness, we appear to be further apart in terms of helping each other. Keep yourself safe!


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