Domestic Violence Awareness Month: #MeToo Helps Us Be Unafraid to Tell, Yet Too Many Stories Are Sti
We're Telling our #MeToo Stories, So Why Are There So Many Stories Still Left to Tell?
Awash in the light of #MeToo and juxtaposed against the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s analysis of the testimonies of accused sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh and alleged victim Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, October has arrived. And with it, a stark reminder that this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For many women who’ve become emboldened to share stories of domestic violence and sexual assault, this month will be an especially difficult reminder of where we are as a society—despite recent spurs in women courageously sharing their #metoo stories, or giving credence to #whyIstayed or #whyIdidntreport, there are still too many stories being written.
WATCH: A brave She-Compass follower shares the story of how she overcame the horror of domestic violence and found the will to go on.
Here are some cold, hard facts: of the four women you’re having coffee with right now, one of us has, or will, experience some form of domestic violence in our lifetime. It’s the leading cause of injury to women, and during the 9 seconds it’s taking to write this sentence, a woman in this country is being assaulted or beaten. And what effect does witnessing violence against women have on our daughters and sons? Of the three million children who grow up in homes where domestic violence is part of their way of life, boys grow up to be men twice as likely to abuse their own spouses, partners, and children.
No More: How One Woman Found the Courage to Be Free
Unfortunately, these statistics aren’t surprising – we are too familiar with the reports of abuse that make national headlines, and many of us know personally women who have been victims of abuse by a domestic partner.
One in four women in the United States
will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime.
What we also know is that it takes great courage to leave an abusive relationship. Some women have been further victimized by choosing to leave—either their stories aren’t taken seriously, or their lives and those of their families are threatened, giving the abuser even more power over the victim. Who doesn’t remember the viral video of NFL player Ray Rice punching his girlfriend into unconsciousness on an elevator, and the outpouring of #whyIstayed stories that followed? And just recently, the elevator confrontation between Anna Maria Archilla and Senator Jeff Flake, where a tear-ridden Archilla screams directly at Flake that “you’re telling me story doesn’t matter” as she gets word on his current position in support of Kavanaugh.
Women stand in solidarity against domestic violence by wearing the symbolic purple ribbon.
It takes temerity and determination to share our stories – even talking about the abuse can be traumatizing. But as more women come forward other women gain strength. In this video, a brave She-Compass follower shares the story of how she overcame the horror of domestic violence and found the will to go on, even after her abuser violated a restraining order, hacked his way through her personal data to find out where she’d moved to get free of him, and threatened the life of her son. Her message to others? If you are in a relationship that makes you feel unsafe in any way, “you’ve got to go. You’ve got to find a way to get out.”
If you're feeling unsafe or know someone who is, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224