Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Issue 6 of Holl & Lane Magazine.
Words by Robin Grames
One in three. What would you do if I told you since this time last year one in three women experienced domestic violence? Ignore it? Be outraged? Offer help?
I am not a victim. Unfortunately, my sister was. On April 16, 2013, she was murdered by her husband because she wanted to leave him. She was tired of the abuse. She had only been married to him for two years when this happened and for those two years she experienced verbal, mental, and physical abuse by a man that said he "loved" her.
Too often, we ignore that bruise on someone's face or that timid, almost scared posture of a co-worker, relative, or a close friend. After all, it's not happening to us and it might be mean to have an uncomfortable conversation about personal issues. We almost always convince ourselves it will go away or it's not as bad as we imagine. Domestic violence is never all right. NEVER! It's a person breaking someone's nose, burning them with cigarettes, raping or threatening them with greater violence. Or in my sister's case, murder. It's ugly and it has to stop now.
I have taken steps these last three years to educate myself and others on eliminating this oftentimes silent scourge. These dedicated people are the ones who make sure emergency shelters are open so at 2AM a victim has somewhere to go. Or they provide training to the victims.
Domestic violence has been an issue for far too long. What can you do? First, learn about your local programs by going online to find out where the closest program is and how you can support them and the coalition. Then, add your voice by saying, "Not in my home, not in my business, not in my city, not in my state, NOT EVER will I accept violence." They need your voice, whether you are volunteering your time, donating a few dollars, or just telling colleagues that this must stop now.
Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are when you were born and when you find out why." I suggest the "why" is to raise your voice for those who can't... the abused, the raped, and those who have died. I urge you to join me and others across the world to speak up and say, "NOT NOW, NOT EVER!"
Learn more at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at www.ncadv.org.