Two critical concerns of women share October as national awareness month: breast cancer and domestic violence. That said, I see more pink in public than purple. I get that. When I was a parish pastor people were quicker to speak to physical concerns and sometimes silent about personal problems. But silence can’t help this cause. In fact, silence fuels it. The truth is that Domestic Violence is a health care problem of epidemic proportions. It cuts across every age, race, socioeconomic group, sexual orientation and religious group.
An estimated 3.9 million women are physically assaulted by their intimate partners every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention women make 693,933 visits to the emergency room per year for these same reasons. The costs of intimate partner assault exceeds $5.8 billion each year with nearly $4.1 billion directed at medical and mental health care services. But here’s the kicker: In a national survey of over 6000 American families researchers found that 50% of men who abused their wives also abused their children. In fact, in the U.S. domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse fatalities in our country (Department of Healthy and Human Services, A Nation’s Shame, p.253).
So let’s shed some light on domestic violence. On October 9 many are lighting purple candles and putting them on their doorsteps. In our state of KY were “any person” is a mandatory reporter of domestic violence, it’s important that we do all we can to make victims feel safe to tell their stories and find sanctuary.
*This article was published on October 6th, 2011 by the Courier Journal under the title, "Spotlight on Domestic Violence".
Beverly Blaisdell Weinhold
Counseling Alliance of Louisville
215 Breckenridge Lane
Louisville, Ky 40207