UNITED STATES—Domestic violence is an issue that we have to talk about. There are so many women who are victims trapped in abusive relationships day in and day out. It’s something we’ve seen tackled in countless movies, on television, in music, on radio and other media outlets, but why is it an issue that has yet to be tackled on a more national level? We’ve seen in the public limelight countless celebrities tell their stories of being trapped in an abusive relationship and how they got the strength to leave.
It’s a psychological trauma that some will never understand. Most people in abusive relationships are afraid to leave out of fear of something bad happening to someone else. The perpetrator of that violence tends to inflict threats onto the victim’s family, children or themselves. Of course countless promises will be made time and time again with the guilty party admitting they will never do it again. How do I know, I’m speaking from personal experience from a family member that was trapped in an abusive relationship. The warning signs were there at moments, but no one wanted to acknowledge the issue. When the perpetrator’s temper reached uncontrollable rages I knew something was wrong.
It started with screaming and shouting, and then escalated to items being thrown around the house, physical abuse and then the violence reached the height of my sister being placed into a hospital clinging for her life. Enough was enough, an intervention was held and a one-on-one talk revealed the fear of being alone and having to be okay with protecting not just herself, but also her children. Ties were indeed severed, but she chooses to go back to the guilty party. My heart sank; just why in the world could you do such a thing. In a tragic set of events the abuser died. Its conflicting as the children no longer have a father, but at the same time I feel relieved because my sister is no longer at the mercy of an abuser.
Violence is violence. Rather its verbal or physical there is no justification for it. More importantly, we have to be aware of the warning signs. If someone is afraid to be around family, someone comes across as possessive or demanding, that is a sign; something is not right in the relationship. Yes, we want to stay out of the relationships of the people that we care about, but at the same time not intervening could turn into something tragic.
How many cases have we’ve seen on TV where the events didn’t end happily ever after? One too many, usually with the abuser taking the life of the woman, the children and eventually themselves. We need a national forum to hold more discussions on the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship as well as more and more women speaking out about the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship. Its psychological trauma on the victim, as well as the children; especially if they witness the violence.
If a boy witnesses physical violence he is likely to grow up abusing women himself because it’s what he’s grown up seeing. For a girl, she’s likely to be involved in an abusive relationship because it’s what she’s seen. For both the boy and the girl the violence is depicted as a form of love. Which is downright horrifying! It’s been said time and time again that love should not hurt and it shouldn’t, but for some they think otherwise. Let’s set an example to all the perpetrators out there who are abusing women: its wrong and enough is enough. No longer will you get a slap on the hand for committing such a heinous crime.
A strong message has to be sent; probation and community service is not enough. If you have the balls to raise a hand at someone, then you should be willing to pay the price by spending a substantial amount of time behind bars. Tougher laws have to be enacted to protect the victims and their families, because in the end what message are we sending if we allow abusers to get away with a slap on the hand? We’re telling them its okay, and its not!
By Trevor Roberts