Domestic Violence Is A Crime, Not A Mistake

“All cruelty springs from weakness.” – Seneca

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By Sharka Waite

Writing can be reflective, meditative, even healing. Actually, it should be healing. Why write otherwise? Writing poetry was mostly my way of overcoming obstacles and finding strength in the weak places of life. This poem from years ago, was a reflection of the time when there wasn’t a day I didn’t fear what my then fiance would do to me. I was so beaten down by his verbal and emotional abuse, I almost forgot who I was. However, one day I had had enough! I found the courage to take my life back and move on – without him. I chose my own death rather than let someone else kill me. I let our love die, too. I believed I had to die in order to rise from the ashes to live anew again. Bit by bit, slowly I began to heal, brushing off my broken wings and like an eagle I began to fly, circling the sky alone but FREE and alive. Leaving the old skin behind like snakes do when they shed it as they grow, like butterflies emerging from their cocoons to show off their fresh colors.

Much has been written about domestic violence. However, there still is stigma and it’s not taken seriously enough. I feel the ink in which these reports are written is far too pale and the words are in a hush hush tone almost as whispers with the message often not reaching those who need it the most. Unfortunately, it is partly due to the double standards of celebrities getting special treatment, how socioeconomic situations are viewed, the level of education and skin color. Common sense would dictate that if you’re being abused you leave immediately, however, it is never as easy as it at first seems. Abuse is a much more complicated issue and intelligence has nothing to do with it. Even smart women get entangled in domestic violence. Just listen to Meredith Vieira’s account on her personal encounter from a long, long time ago here.

The problem, partly, is that as a society we glorify abusers if they’re attractive (remember the craze over felon Meek’s mug shot that got him a modeling contract?!), superior athletes, actors, musicians, etc. It’s absolutely mind boggling, as seen in current news involving Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson, to watch men and some women at sporting events supporting their favorite athletes who were just indicted for violent crimes, saying, “I don’t care what he does in his private life.” Really? Although I too don’t care about what people do in their personal lives as everybody should have the right to their privacy, however, when it involves violence especially when it’s aired for the world to see, shouldn’t we be alarmed and not turn our blind eye to the issue? It breaks my heart and angers me at the same time! Are we truly THAT desensitized that we just don’t care that a wife was beaten unconscious or a four-year old is beaten with a stick till his body is covered with blood? Really? And calling it a mistake is adding insult to injury. Beating a women or a child is not a mistake! I see something very wrong with this picture! How many black eyes, bruises, broken bones or souls, or deaths, is it going to take for us to open our hearts and care?

According to statistics, every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her life. Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner. One in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually; witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. And, 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.

These are tragic statistics. There should be “zero tolerance” against domestic violence or any violence for that matter. After experiencing abuse myself, I have a much deeper understanding and compassion for women who live in those conditions. They often stay out of fear, shame, guilt, or their financial situation. Abusers are very skilled in mental and emotional manipulations and women who love them will say almost anything to excuse that sort of behavior, believing they in some way contributed or even deserved it. Holding onto the hope that their partners will change. Unfortunately, that won’t happen unless they receive professional help. We must collectively dispel the stigma, be compassionate and support those in need instead of glorifying those who do such violent acts.

Only those who have no power over their inner selves assert power over others. Let’s not give it to them. We have only one LIFE to live, let’s not allow anyone else to ruin it for us! LET’S CHOOSE TO LIVE – NOT JUST SURVIVE! Let’s be STRONG for ourselves and each other!

There is hope and help available:

THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE AT 1-800-656-4673
THE NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HOTLINE AT 1-866-331-9474

Love & Hugs,

Sharka

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