Letter to the Editor: It’s A Family Matter
Dr. Nancy Davis-Aycock
Have you ever heard some say, “If you make your bed, you lie in it”? There’re other things you may have heard. “Be patient with him.” “Try harder.” “What did you do?”
Perhaps you have read the same old stories in the newspapers “Our hearts go out…” “We are deeply saddened…” “Her death is a stark reminder…” “Why wasn’t something done to stop him before it happened?”
Women may be afraid of strangers, but it is the man in their life (husband, boyfriend or lover) that is most likely to hurt them. In fact, two-thirds of violent attacks on women are committed by someone they know. The terror associated with domestic violence affects all women regardless of race or economic status.
Did you know that the home is the most dangerous place for an American woman? It is where the single greatest threat of injury occurs. The threat of injury from physical abuse in the home is greater than the combination of cancer, strokes, car wrecks, attacks, muggings and rapes. Our culture has emphasized that “family matters” are events that occur in the seclusion of the home and should not be shared with people outside the home. Many men and women still feel that way. That’s one of the major reasons domestic violence has escalated to an epidemic level. About 2 million men each year beat their partner. This means that every 16 seconds a woman is beaten by the man in her life and approximately 1,500 are murdered.
Domestic violence is not a family matter. It is a crime! It violates the fundamental premise of a good relationship which is trust.
In years past, state laws and local ordinances followed the mantra that what happened at home, stayed at home. Women knew if they called the police they would be criticized for violating the privacy of the home. In instances where the police were called, the police officers were frequently reluctant to get involved in a lovers’ quarrel or marital disagreement. Too many didn’t view such occurrences as police work.
Today, there are state and federal laws against domestic violence. Police officers have been trained in identifying and positively reacting to incidents of domestic violence. There are shelters for women and children, such as the Betty Griffin House. There are newspaper and magazine articles identifying the many issues involved in domestic violence.
Yet, society influences women to believe, “I can’t call the police on him.” “He’s just under a lot of stress.” “He just had a little too much to drink.” “He’ll be okay when he sleeps it off.” “It’s my fault.” “I shouldn’t have provoked him.” “It’s a family matter.”
However, it’s NOT a family matter, it’s a community matter. If you or someone you know is being abused, call the Betty Griffin House 24-Hr Crisis hotline confidentially at 904-824-1555. Visit our web-site www.bettygriffinhouse.org and become our fan on Facebook