THE BLOG
10/02/2014 04:45 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2014

The Face of Domestic Violence

People, who know me, know that I am BIG sports fan. Like any other fan I have my favorite teams, and players and get excited when we win. Every season, I look forward to the competitive nature sports embody and I have to admit, I'm a sore loser. The games, however, can be very violent, and has caused many injuries. Unfortunately, as we see all over the internet, on TV, and even during broadcast, sports also has a face of violence off the playing fields, courts and arenas as well. During this season that face is called "Domestic Violence."

When you hear the term domestic violence what do you think? Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power or control over an intimate partner. Abuse does not discriminate. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. What's also sad is most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Personally, I would never violently put my hands on anyone and can't imagine hurting the woman I love and cherish most. Growing up I was taught that men protect their "women folk" and a man's arms were where women could run for love and security. What would make someone feel they have the right to put their hands on a woman and harm them? In relationships there are many factors that lead to violence whether you are a man or woman, but at some point the discipline to walk away and not cause physical violence has to take precedence. Violence on any level must be stopped whether it is physical, emotional, or mental. None of it has any place in our homes or in public places; like elevators.

Abuse is manifested in five primary categories: physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological. Whenever someone tries to control another through one of these five forms is considered abuse. There's a saying hurt people hurt people. Usually when people hurt others it is because they are hurting themselves. If we want to get to the bottom of the situation, we need to look at some core issues.

We hear about athletes such as Ray Rice and other public figures that come to the limelight due to their fame, but what about all the women that are scared to step up; where there was no video to expose such an outlash? As Dr. Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time." Domestic violence doesn't stop with one hit. Fortunately, this particular case of domestic violence in a public elevator was videotaped, but what about the countless cases never exposed? How many women and men are sitting somewhere right now being victimized in some way? Where does it begin and end? My heart not only goes out to the victims of domestic violence, but we must assist domestic offender in getting the help they need, as well. If not, the cycle will continue. This includes helping those individuals who are prone to violence to get the help they need before they commit an act.

For veterans the statistics are even steeper. Eighty-one percent of veterans suffering from depression and PTSD engage in at least one violent act against their partner when returning home, according to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health & Environmental Hazards. How do we help our veterans that bring the war home and take it out on their families? We must remember that when someone hurts a loved one it doesn't mean they don't care; lack of ability to manage emotional issues and discern reasonable judgment could be behavioral determining factors.

Why must we care? Because abuse affects entire families; carrying generational cycles. If I have to admit, I'm a sore loser. we don't care we are passing along a message that abuse is acceptable. What does this say to our children and grandchildren?

Here is one way we can help: We must support organizations that stand up against violence and protect the innocent.

Research also shows more military family members killed by veterans in American homes than troops killed in action at war. Combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress are responsible for 21 percent of domestic violence nationwide. Our focus and efforts are often turned to the epidemic of veteran suicide, accounting for 20 percent of all US cases; we must equally recognize domestic abuse. As soldiers return from repeated tours of duty, there continues to be an increasing surge of domestic violence within military households.

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD were significantly more likely to commit violence towards their partners, including strangulation, stabbings, and shooting. Research also shows traumatic brain injury was the likely culprit in increasing aggression directly linked to domestic violence.

Whether you are an athlete, peace officer, or veteran, if we are going to attack this vicious act of violence we must commit ourselves to action. While there is certainly war happening in foreign lands, we can't ignore the domestic violence wars in many of our homes. Let's sound the alarm, and protect helpless victims while rallying help for those who perpetuate such violence.