As a very vocal advocate for the eradication of domestic violence, I am greatly frustrated by the apparent indifference our culture has towards domestic violence and the cancerous destruction it has on our families. A greater discussion was warranted, especially in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to inform those in abusive relationships of resources available to victims and abusers in hopes of bringing an end to the violence. A candid conversation was needed to educate the masses as to what domestic violence is, who is being affected and how domestic violence can kill the victim's body, mind and spirit.
Despite aggressively pitching dozens of television programs and attempting to leverage my television relationships, no one was willing to talk about domestic violence - even in October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nearly three out of four
(74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Therefore, this topic would have been of great relevance to the vast majority of viewers. Still, producers and hosts choose not to discuss domestic violence despite their abilities to produce segments that would have been informative, moving and possibly, life saving.
So why the Industry-wide "NO"? One producer candidly stated that the topic is 'heavy" and a "downer" to an audience of people who have traveled to the studio or watch on the television, to escape the misery in their own lives. Then, my common sense kicked in and I came to grips with the reality that domestic violence is so prevalent and epidemic in nature, that there exist a very strong possibility that someone calling the shots is an abuser. There is a great likelihood that someone on the decision making board is embarrassed by her victimization. Domestic violence happens behind closed doors and for many, that's where they want the conversation to stay also.
The grim truth is that the producers are correct in there assessment as to what people WANT to hear, but that does not give them an out for not providing what people NEED to hear. The sad reality is that most people don't passionately care about domestic violence. The clandestine excuses are: it's a private family matter; people should not air family dirty laundry to the public (no matter how bloody it is); there are two sides to every story so we don't get involved and pick sides (even though only person is being battered); it happens all of the time - people work it out themselves.
The bottom line is that many people will not appreciate this atrocity, that is - domestic violence - until it impacts their lives in personal ways. Yet, I challenge my fellow compassionate beings to understand that domestic violence has a rippling effect that can greatly traumatize our lives as innocent bystanders.
Consider how these real-life scenarios of domestic violence could have affected you.
- Someone in your circle of friends is smiling on the outside but is being abused at home. In fact, every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten and everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Some man you hold in high-esteem for being a good friend, boss, employee, leader or colleague is actually a pathetic asshole, bullying and abusing his partner and children. In 98% of domestic violence cases, the perpetrator is the man.
- Some child on the playground is bullying your child because she is mimicking the abusive behavior she experiences at home.
- Your adult child doesn't call much anymore and seldom comes around because she is being abused at home and is too embarrassed to ask for help. Domestic violence includes isolation from family and social contacts, physical and sexual assault, harassment, threats, blaming, name-calling, withholding money, controlling behavior, stalking, verbal abuse, etc.
- The teenager, from your neighborhood, feels like his life isn't worth living because that's what he's been told at home. Subsequently, he decides to shoot up a school and also end his life.
- You are buying stamps at the post office and a stalker enters to shoot and kill her boyfriend .
- A child dies, while being "watched" by Momma's boyfriend, because the permitted form of discipline is beating/abuse which eventually goes to far. The national news story becomes of interest to you because the father, whom the victim never met or knew, is an all-star professional football player.
- The "perfect" mom, with whom your children had play dates finally cracks from the hidden abuse and shoots her children, abuser and self.
- The house on fire, wherein a mother and her 12 year old daughter hell-bent on committing suicide due to the continual domestic violence are entrapped, catches fire to your house and burns your memories down.
- Your child needs counseling because he learns that his best friend was killed by his mother in a murder/suicide because she could no longer take the daily domestic abuse.
- Your co-worker comes into work hungover quite often and it has affected your team performance and thus your annual review. You are unaware that many victims of domestic violence use and abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism
Domestic violence occurs everyday, all over the world, in every neighborhood and to every demographic of victims. Please talk about it. Lend your non-judgmental support to someone you think needs help and give financial assistance to organizations that are passionate about ending domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Kills Helpline is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The proceeds from the above pictured t-shirt go directly to programs that help victims of domestic violence.