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October is Domestic Violence Month

[From Aimee: October is Domestic Violence month and it is a very important cause. I asked my friend Siobhan to write a little bit about domestic violence. Below is what she had to say. Thanks Siobhan for taking time to help highlight this problem.]

You never get used to it. There’s always a noise or a sound you just can’t get used to. It’s a very distinct sound. It is always loud.  A scream. A shrill. A slap. It’s a sound that violently disrupts the sound of peace and tranquility. It’s a sound that willfully makes its presence known. It enters your dreams and transforms them into nightmares.  I remember that sound. And even as an adult, I’m still not used to it. I don’t think I could ever get used to it.

I absolutely adore what I do. Being an advocate to victims, holding a child’s hand while they receive a rape kit. It’s a burdensome calling, but it’s also a beautiful calling.  You know that sound that interrupts peace?  My job is a sound too.  It is a sound that silences the loud, noisy, banging of violence.  I love being that sound to. It is a necessary sound. Without it, our survivors would always hear the loud of violence.

We all know that if every victim reported domestic violence and sexual assault, the numbers would shock us beyond belief.  Some people say that 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes.  However, I don’t want to focus on numbers because they mean nothing when you’re in a sterile white room, holding the hand of a 14-year-old girl who was raped by her grandfather. It really means nothing. All that matters is that her peace was disrupted by the loud of violence and she needs that noise silenced.

What matters is, how do more people become the other sound. The sound that tells the slap, the kick, the whimper, that your existence here is not welcomed. I came across a methodology and a practice that does just that. It’s called the Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program. In short, this program teaches us how to intervene (without causing harm to our person) in a potentially violent situation. And isn’t that just how domestic violence begins? With potential. We see the intimidating the looks and the aggressive behavior. But it’s much easier to pretend you didn’t see it. To pretend the potential doesn’t exist under the guise of not being a nosey neighbor. However, I am inclined to believe that there is a way to intervene. There is a way to be notably nosey. More importantly, there is a need.

I charge you, to take notice. Not just for October Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but for every time your silence is ambushed by that sound.

[Edited by Martin Copeland]

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