Another October is right around the corner - another month of raising awareness about Domestic Violence. There will be marches and campaigns, speeches and events.
Lots of people with the best possible intentions and motives will speak on the issue, hopeful that more awareness will create change.
It won’t. I mean, seriously - isn’t the culture fully aware of DV at this point? Of course we are. Those who sought to raise awareness have done an admirable job; however, the statistics aren’t improving. If anything, they’re getting worse.
Maybe the reality we should focus on now is that awareness, without action, accomplishes nothing.
So now that we’re all aware, what’s next?
You, getting involved.
There is much you can do to impact the issue of Domestic Violence. A few suggestions:
1. Go beyond awareness and get educated, because there’s a decent amount of outdated information about DV that’s accepted as fact. Some of it is flat-out wrong, and some of it is propaganda being fed to the culture by groups and organizations that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
If you don’t have accurate information, you won’t be an effective advocate for women and children - and you might make the situation worse. If nothing else, knowing the truth will likely change your response to targets of abuse.
2. Get directly involved. Call your nearest crisis center and sign up for training as an advocate. While it will be some of the hardest work you’ll ever do, it will also be the most rewarding.
3. One of the most important things you can do is to help change the cultural climate, which currently has little respect for women and children in general, and abuse targets in particular.
Adopt a zero-tolerance attitude for anything that devalues women and children, and be vocal in your opposition.
One of the slogans for DV Awareness Month is “End the Silence.” It’s generally intended to encourage battered women to step up and tell the truth about what’s happening to them.
The problem is, in too many violent situations, it’s not safe for her to tell anyone that she needs help.
Instead, what abused women and children need is for all of us to come alongside them and, in one voice, break our silence.
See you next time. ‘Til then -
Jenna Brooks is a coach, a seminar author and instructor, and is the award-winning author of the October Snow series. She welcomes your comments through her website, Jenna Brooks Online.