At the Clinton Global initiative conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her speech on Monday, "Violence can never be justified."
Domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking -- could also be defined as bullying -- are not issues exaggerated in crime dramas on primetime TV in the US. Here's the painful truth: domestic violence is spreading, and destroying the lives of millions and millions of people. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a 2011 survey that "these types of violence affect the health of millions of adults." The CDC added, "On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner . . . Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men." It should also be kept in mind that these statistics are based upon survivors of abuse who were willing to share their stories. Unfortunately, not everyone is a survivor. Many people remain silent victims, and their stories go untold.
When it comes to those who speak out again domestic abuse, many, such as musicians, political leaders, as well as survivors, have turned to social media as an outlet to denounce the secrets behind this destructive behavior. Indeed, on any given day, a public service announcement (PSA) or some sort of testimonial is posted on You Tube about domestic violence. Many are deeply disturbing, and even depict actual violence. While most of these videos serve to raise awareness about domestic abuse and are created with good intentions, a growing number of them are older, have been recirculated, and don't always provide the best information for the public. That said, in the last 6 months, there have been 3 must-see videos that serve to educate people about the dangers of domestic abuse. These videos -- along with many others -- illustrate how domestic violence, both here and at home, is fast becoming a global epidemic crisis. And that is one of the reasons why the UN highlighted the issue on Peace Day.
David Hodges is Montreal's favorite hip hop artist. He and Parnell wrote the song "Secrets," which condemns domestic abuse, and depicts an angry father beating his teenage son. His sister -- played by Parnell -- pays witness to her father's vicious behavior. Unlike other videos that depict abuse, this video doesn't end on a negative note. In fact, the abusive father is confronted by his older son as the song draws to an end. Spoiler alert: for those hoping for a justified moment of revenge will be disappointed. Instead, the oldest son of the father walks into a bedroom, where the father had been screaming at his other son, looks him straight in the eye, touches his chest, and shakes his head. In the doorway, Parnell stands with her head crestfallen. The older son also looks down at the ground, and the father reacts with shame and collapses onto the bed. This offers hope, as it demonstrates that the victims aren't the only ones who need attention. Hodges is clearly indicating that abusers must be educated about their violent tendencies, too. While there are music videos that depict domestic abuse, Hodges's stays on message about the possibility of putting such behavior to an end and exposing it. This music PSA ends with perfection by providing organizations that can help someone who is being abused.
When it comes to the realm of politics, the matter of domestic abuse doesn't seem to immediately come to mind, and is largely ignored by mainstream media outlets, especially when addressing it as a systemic problem. That's why it is worth noting a PSA video that Vice President Joe Biden put together. In fact, Biden is deeply concerned about domestic abuse. In June, the White House put out a video, "1 is 2 Many," about the problem. President Barack Obama is the first to speak and says, "Hey everybody, listen up," a line which is then repeated by a number of famous celebrities and athletes -- Eli Manning, Jeremy Lin, David Beckham, Evan Longoria, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Torre and Andy Katz -- with their faces appearing side-by-side. Beckham is the first to end the sentence by saying, "No one should ever hit a woman." Biden later adds, "The worst abuse of power is when a man raises his hand to hurt a woman."
Since a woman is hit every nine seconds in the United States, a message from the White House, condemning domestic abuse only helps to shine light on a grave issue that many either ignore or minimize.
The third, and most haunting of the three videos, is that of a woman with a split lip and a black eye. The piece -- "How to look your best the morning after" -- opens with a shot of a woman's neck and chin. There are noticeable bruises and cuts. The camera's lens moves up her neck to reveal her severely battered face. The woman begins to speak and cheerfully says hello to everyone and adds, "I'm sorry I haven't been online much lately, but I'm back, I am here . . . I've had a bit of a rough time." She proceeds to explain that she will be doing a video to help woman cover up noticeable signs of abuse. Right before she concludes, she looks off camera and her smile vanishes. She quickly stands up, and the video turns black, an obvious sign that her abuser is nearby. This video was posted by makeup artist Lauren Luke on July 1st and quickly went viral. It has had over 1 million views, and has now been copied by young women all over the world. Sadly, some of these women are literally covering up real bruises and cuts.
Unfortunately, abuse in the home is all too common, not just here in the U.S. but worldwide. October is Domestic Violence & Bullying Awareness month, and these three recent videos serve to raise further awareness about the problem. Whether or not the level of awareness -- that seems to be widespread on the net - matters, remains to be seen. The sad truth, however, does remain: domestic violence is spreading across the globe.
If you or someone you know, is being abused, there is help.
The Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)