Today marks the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
Growing up, hearing about or seeing a woman being hit by her partner while not common place didn’t seem a serious enough issue to be up in arms about. Of course we were all taught boys should not hit girls; however that was easier said than done when the boys that were hitting were mimicking their fathers.
Growing up, and being a typical teenager who thought I was so crazy in love didn’t give a second thought to the phone calls asking about my whereabouts or the suggestions on who my friends should be. I chalked it up to a jealous boyfriend not control or psychological abuse i.e. intimate partner violence.
I was sixteen the first time I was struck. I remember being untruthful to those who loved me when questioned about a busted lip. I remember making excuses for the heated exchange. I remember going back. I remember never leaving. I remember… Still the seriousness of this public health issue did not resonate.
Fast forward to May 2000- post a few more black eyes, verbal assaults, and foolishness. Intimate partner violence reared its ugly face and caused devastation that can be felt to this very day. You see it came this time with a vengeance that sunglasses couldn’t hide, time couldn’t heal or a thousand apologies couldn’t erase. This time it took the life of my mother. Shot seven times in a fit of drunken rage- domestic violence cancelled her existence.
And again the questions of what she did or didn’t do sought to validate or make sense of this crime. Even today when we hear stories of celebs and violence we pick and choose who we support, we find a way to justify why it happened instead of seeking to eradicate the root of it all.
Taboo, common place, not your business or you wish a n**ga would- however you categorize the issue- I challenge all that’s reading this post to not accept the status quo, don’t turn a blind eye and don’t judge. Violence against anyone man/woman- boy/girl is unacceptable.
I am dedicating my blog all month long to raising awareness about the issue. Share your stories of healing and triumph from either side of the fence. Your story could be the one that breaks the cycle for a woman/man that doesn’t know how to get out.
““Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” ~Melody Beattie