Saturday, May 9, 2009

I have a friend who was married 2 weeks when her husband first hit her. He beat her in front of her children, while she was pregnant, in front of his parents, and friends. Unlike most women, she fought back. She was 15 when she married, and by the time she was 20 she had 2 kids and a divorce. Her story is typical in a lot of ways. She got out of the relationship whereas most women don't.

While there are signs that become visible, most of us still ignore what we see and know is going on among our friends and family. This is still considered a "family issue" in most settings. We know what is going on and we do nothing to help the person being abused. If we are afraid, imagine what the person being abused feels.

When my daughter was in high school, she did an extensive report on domestic violence among teens. I was appalled at how many young women find themselves in an abusive relationship with the boy they were dating.

I often remind my own daughter of what she has learned when I feel she is in an unhealthy relationship. Our girls are still looking for Prince Charming and find themselves caught up in a relationship that they are afraid to end.

Domestic violence is all about control. One partner (often the male), desires to dominate and control the other. This happens across the board. Rich, poor, black, white, heterosexual or homosexual. According to, this is a choice, not something that cannot be controlled.

We are becoming more aware of the signs of domestic violence, but are we doing any more about it? The police are more willing to get involved and that is a start. But what can you as an individual do? You can find a way to let someone you believe to be in an abusive relationship, that you are aware and are willing to help them get out. You can support your local battered women's shelter. If you do not know where it is, call your local police department and they can help you. These shelters are always looking for volunteers, donations of clothing, food, and money.

Talk with your teen. Let them know that you are there for them and are willing to help them. Don't let them become a statistic.

If you are a victim yourself, call your local police department and ask for help. If you cannot call them, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and get the help you need. To quote my mother, the wisest woman I know,"Don't accept a diamond ring for a black eye."

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-787-3224


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