Each year since 1987 October is proclaimed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some people wonder why after all these years we still need to raise awareness about a crime so prevalent and notorious, its aftermath so unavoidable.
Yes, for the most part, we all seem to know that violence is occurring behind closed doors of homes in every corner of our communities and our country. Where we falter, and often fail, is in knowing what we can do personally and collectively to help those families living with the violence and dying at the hands of those they once loved and trusted.
While it's true domestic violence is a complex problem with no simple solutions, the fact is there are countless steps we can take in our daily lives to stop a batterer, to support a victim and to save a life.
It shouldn't take the death of an entire family as the result of a domestic homicide/suicide before a neighborhood stops turning a deaf ear to the sounds of violence on their street.
It shouldn't take the murder of a woman denied a protection order before the court system recognizes the lethality of domestic violence and enforces the laws that are in place to protect victims and sanction offenders.
It shouldn't take a battered woman being pronounced DOA at the hospital before healthcare practitioners stop sending patients home without questioning the origin of bruises and injuries or inquiring about their safety.
And it shouldn't take the stalking and shooting of a battered woman at her job site before employers implement workplace violence policies and safety plans.
Every day in some way, make it your business to play an active role in your community to end domestic violence. And what better time to begin than now, during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Please call the police if you hear or witness an assault in progress and contact the Christina House Domestic Violence Shelter to find out more about what you can do to stop domestic violence.
Please join us on Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. at the Christina Center, 115 E. Washington St., Lisbon for our annual balloon launch. This is a time to say thank you to advocates who work with victims and their children, honor victims who have taken the steps to begin to live a life free from fear, and remember those women who have lost their lives at the hands of their abusers.
Christina House program manager