Domestic abuse is too dangerous to ignore

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sometimes talking about an issue sheds light on its dangers.

That’s just what we do during October, which is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is one of our nation’s dirty little secrets. The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that, by conservative estimates, 1.5 million U.S. women are assaulted by “intimate partners” each year. Moreover, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 _ more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

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That’s a frightening thought. To put the pervasiveness of the issue in perspective, some studies show that nearly one in three adult women will experience at least one physical assault by a partner during her lifetime. Think about that next time you have lunch with two or three of your favorite female friends.

Sadly, much of the abuse is kept quiet and hidden. It crosses all socio-economic bounds, all races, all ages, all cultures. But for many victims, the shame and fear combine to prevent them from reporting the abuse and seeking protection.

We can help. During October, many agencies will be working to raise money to support domestic violence prevention or recovery efforts; they will be working to educate and inform the public. Take time this month to learn about the warning signs, the potential dangers, the efforts to prevent and provide support. And, if you’re able, support these efforts financially.

And if you know a victim of domestic violence, reach out to her. We cannot continue to be complacent about this domestic violence and the threat it poses to our families.