THE BLOG
10/02/2014 05:25 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

Security Begins and Ends in the Home

ghadiardja via Getty Images

Those of us who work in the business of national security spend considerable time and resources trying to protect our country from a variety of global threats, and we do a pretty good job of it. However, recent events cause me to wonder how broadly we're failing on a more basic level -- protecting those within our own homes and communities. Ensuring the safety of those who can't defend themselves at home is at least as important as securing the nation from external threats.

The widely publicized incidents involving players in the National Football League bring the specter of domestic violence to the forefront of the national debate. Most of the commentary seems to second-guess the handling of the specific incidents. Clearly, the facts of each case will play out, and those who are culpable should be held accountable legally. Those who turned a blind eye will be judged in the court of public opinion.

Meanwhile, I fear the real issues are being shoved into the background. I would rather see these controversies focus attention on how to help those suffering from abuse to step forward and escape from their torment, while we as a society work to stop the cycle of abuse from recurring from generation to generation.

According to a 2012 CDC report, on average 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That's more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. Another CDC report suggests that nearly 30 percent of all women have been physically abused, raped or intimidated in their lives. The most recent HHS report on child abuse estimates more than 1.25 million children suffer abuse or neglect in a given year -- one in every 58 children.

Beyond these shocking statistics, domestic abuse is also a heart-breaking personal issue. We all know friends and family members who have been or continue to be victims of abuse. Even one case of abuse is too many.

These statistics and stories are a horrifying indictment for a nation that prides itself on promoting freedom, equality and opportunity at home and abroad.

I pray that the suffering of those involved in the latest headlines will serve as an awakening for all of us to find better ways to help domestic violence victims and prevent others from suffering. We need to take action.

Let's all work together to ensure this threat inside our nation is given the same high priority as the threats outside our borders.