Stand up, speak out for domestic violence victims

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ray Rice’s infamous elevator knockout punch brought national attention to the issue of domestic violence, and reminds us once again that this epidemic is one that cross all socio-economic groups.

Rice, the NFL player who was caught on videotape punching his girlfriend in an elevator, is of course simply one of the more high-profile cases of domestic violence to be reported lately. And the national attention brought by this incident has pushed concern about domestic violence to the fore of the public debate.

But, in all honesty, it’s an issue that should always remain at the fore of our consciousness.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Each October, America marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s not a glamorous celebration, but a solemn one in which the millions of victims, volunteers and advocates associated with domestic violence seek to educate the public.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute in the United States are victims of physicial violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

More than 10 million women and men are victims each year, with experts saying that one in three women and one in four men will be victims of physical domestic abuse at some point in their lifetimes.

Those are jarring statistics.

One in five women are likely to be victims of several physical assualt, and one in seven likely will be stalked or victimized during their lifetime. And the threat is just as real for men, with one in seven falling victim to several physical abuse.

Domestic abuse is a real and dangerous epidemic. From emotional and metal abuse that seeks to control or intimidate its victims to physical or sexual violenc, which further solidifies the control and power issues, domestic abuse steals hope and joy from millions of lives each year.

It’s up to use to make a difference. If you have been a victm of domestic abuse, ask for help. The National SAFE hotline at 800-799-7233 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 are available 24-hours a day.

If you’re a friend or family member who suspects abuse, reach out and ask. Offer to help. Intervene and offer protection, safety, support. Victims of domestic violence so often feel isolated and alone, too afraid to ask for help. It’s our responsibility to stand up and speak up for them.