A common mistake that has been made concerning domestic violence is that people think that it only effects those that’s involved. However, its bigger then the two people involved in the altercation. Domestic violence also plays a tole on all of those around them as well. It affects their families, co-workers and community.
My mother was a victim at the hands of my father. It was hard enough on my sisters and I knowing that my father put his hands on our mother. But the effects of witnessing an encounter are much more dramatic. In fact, without self control, I’ve come close to being an abuser myself. They say its hereditary which could be the reason why the perpetual cycle continues. Put I couldn’t let it continue in me. My grandmother, mother, aunts, and sister (unconfirmed) were victims. It’s no way I could allow my wife to be come a victim at my hands.
At six years old, sitting at the dinner table while my parents were in the kitchen, I over heard the sound of what I believed to be a slap to the face (it was later confirmed to be true). At eleven, I was awaken by the sounds of a fight in the living room. My family if nosy and we have no shame in investigating anything that pecks our interest. That night, I walked in on my parents tussling in the living closet with my mother crying and begging my father to stop. After calling the police from the neighbors house, I later walked in on my father going after my mother with a knife.
These are memories that have haunted me for years. They’ve consumed my thoughts and hindered me from moving forward in relationships, because I don’t want to be that man. My wife and I (have since divorced) got into such a heated argument one night that I didn’t know what to do. I felt that anger and rage rise inside of me to the point were I need to take out my aggression somehow. That night I felt myself going after her. But self control took over and I quickly left the house, jumped in my car and just drove until a came to an empty parking lot. I sat there for about two hours before going home again. But I made sure that when I walked back in that house that I’d gotten passed that feeling.
As men, we have to rise up and be that example unto our children that domestic violence is not the way to go. We have to have control over our own tempers and find other ways to handle conflict with our spouses. Violence only begots more violence. Our kids may not see the things that we do to our women but they are far from ignorant. We knew what our fathers were doing to our mothers or their girlfriends so why wouldn’t that know that we’re doing the same thing. Women, you’re not exempt from being the abuser here. Statistics shows that more than 800,000 men fall victim to domestic violence in addition to the 1.3 million cases reported by women. I that don’t say much but it does say that both men and women need to be aware of the image we are presenting to our children.
The bottom line is that domestic violence in cool. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you are someone you know have fallen victim to a domestic partner (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, parent, etc.) there is help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is anonymous and confidential. Operators are there 24/7/365 ready to assist you in anyway possible at 1-800-799-Safe (7233). The internet, as you know, is at the tips of our fingers. Educate yourself on the resources available to you in your area.
If you’ve never been in a domestic violence situation, you can still help those around you. Next time you upgrade your cell phone, don’t just throw that old phone in a drawer to be forgotten about. Drop it off at the nearest Verizon Wireless corporate store to be donated to Hopeline from Verizon. Phones are refurbished or environmentally safely recycled to benefit victims in your area. In Milwaukee, Verizon Wireless has sponsored for the last four years the annual Walk A Mile to benefit local victim shelters. The concept is for men to come out walk one mile in women shoes to raise funds for victim awareness. You also can check out the resources in your area to help.
Domestic violence is not as simple as partners putting their hands on each other. It can go much deeper then that. Stay tune through out the month as I investigate this illness beyond the surface. I’ll share some of my own stories as well as some of those of others who are willing to speak.