I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “Well, that never happened to me so I don’t have to worry about anything….” or “no one will ever do that to me because I won’t let them…” or (my favorite) “that has nothing to do with me; I surround myself around good, wholesome people”!
The ignorance surrounding a systemic issue floors me every time! Domestic violence is more than an issue between “intimate partners” and even the definition of an “intimate partner” has changed form over the years. It evolves yet the law protecting victims of domestic violence has not. So that leaves a group of victims unprotected.
But I digress… we will have plenty of time over the next few weeks to cover the political progress made over the years towards DV victim protection and what is left to do; but for now, let me share with you some statistics on domestic violence (y’all know I love me some research!!):
- Victims lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year (citation)
- The cost of domestic violence is over $8 billion yearly (citation)
- 21-60% of victims lose their jobs due to reasons resulting from abuse (citation)
- Between 2003-2008 (five year span), 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser (citation)
Now, you may be wondering, what does that have to do with me?
Have you ever been on a job and had to work overtime due to insufficient staffing? Have you ever worked with someone who had to take off work so much, leaving you to cover their shift? Have you ever had to find a replacement for someone last minute (if you were in a managerial role)?
Have you ever witnessed someone getting brutally pummeled in broad daylight? Were you compelled to jump in and save the victim? Or did you keep walking, not wanting to get involved? Have you ever witnessed a loved one getting knocked around the house, choked until their faces turned another color, stomped in the stomach repeatedly — then said that you refused to get involved because the victim will just “go back anyway”?
Have you ever called the police on what sounded like could’ve been a domestic situation in the house next door?
Have you ever felt sorry for someone because they looked so sad and lonely? You knew they were in an abusive relationship, but you preferred to “mind your business”?
All of these situations affected you —indirectly because you weren’t taking the physical blows, but it affected you nonetheless. It affected your moral beliefs. It forced you to choose – to help or turn a deaf ear. And if you turned a deaf ear, you justified it somehow to ease your own conscious. You, my friend, were touched by the effects of domestic violence.
It affects us all in some form or fashion.
Millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent in the workplace on an annual basis on paid leave because victims are constantly taking days off to heal.
Law enforcement spend a considerable amount of time and resources on domestic violence-related calls. Only to arrive at the home or location to have the victim withdraw charges or refuse to press charges. They recant (the victims) for various reasons, mainly fear of retaliation from their abuser.
It’s a systemic issue. It affects us all.
It’s not a rich issue, or a poor issue, or a woman issue, or a homosexual issue, or a black thang, or a white thang, or a whatever thang — it is an everybody everywhere thang. No one is eliminated or excused or handed a “get out of jail free” card.
And I realize one little article is not going to change the minds of those who are hell bent believing they are not affected. That is fine. The point of my blog is to share some of the ways domestic violence indirectly affects us.
And why should you care? Because sometimes the strong has to bear the infirmities of the weak. Sometimes those who are capable of speaking out have to do so for those who are unable to at the moment. Sometimes those who have the strength to fight have to see it through for justice sake. We are stronger together than apart.
One of my aunts was abused every single day of her life, until she passed away. Many watched. Many tried to save her but failed because she did return to the abuser. Many lost faith in her ability to ever be free. But internally, all she wanted to be was saved. And for her, death was her only savior.
I guess my plea is for us to join forces to end this epidemic of violence against human kind. Together, we can #EndDV