*She's lying in her bed, about to drift off to sleep, when her drunken husband comes in and attempts intimacy with her. When she rejects his advances, he goes into a rage, turns the bed over with her still on it and begins shoving it back and forth against the wall. Her children, who came running into the bedroom after hearing the noise, save her life.
*Because he thinks his wife embarrassed him in front of other people, he drags her across the floor after they get home and throws her up against the wall.
*After years and years of being emotionally, psychologically and physically abused, a woman takes on a boyfriend because her husband has told her he will kill her if she ever tries to leave him. One day he intercepts an explicit letter written to her and forces their children to listen to him read it out loud with her in the room, telling their children in very specific terms what he thinks their mother is when he finishes.
There are literally thousands of stories like this occurring daily across the country and many, like the ones noted above, are enough to make your blood run cold. No area, no state, no race, and no economic class are spared these horrific occurrences. In a region as wholesome as the area we live in, no less than 1,500 calls a year are made to the domestic abuse hotline in McCook and the experts there say this is only the tip of the iceberg because most victims don't tell anyone.
According to the NCADV Public Policy Office, there are 1.3 million instances of domestic physical abuse occurring in this country every year.
Eighty-five percent of the victims are women and most are never reported to the police.
The strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next is witnessing violence between one's parents.
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners when they become adults.
And less than 1/5th of victims in intimate partner violence seek medical treatment following their abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is incumbent on all of us who know about it, see it or hear it to do something about it. It is one of the most hidden crimes in America. It is also one of the most predatory crimes because it usually involves a bigger, stronger male assaulting a smaller, weaker female who can do little if anything to protect or defend herself.
Public awareness has contributed to a decline in this detestable behavior over the past several years. Police in most jurisdictions can now make an arrest without seeing the crime actually take place if they believe it has. This remains, in most places, the only exception to the misdemeanor arrest rule that requires the officer to witness the crime as it occurs or have an arrest warrant for the person in question.
Because of public awareness, people outside the immediate family are now more likely than ever to take some kind of action rather than regarding it as "personal troubles" between the husband and wife that isn't any of their business, which we did for far too long.
It's a despicable crime and often the woman feels like there's nothing she can do to stop it because of the threats her partner has made to her if she tries.
So much of it is up to us. We can turn a blind eye like we've done for so long or we can take some kind of action, ANY kind of action that may prevent it in the future. When we do, at the very least we're saving the woman from hurt, harm and injury. At the most, we're saving her life.
Get a purple wrist band from your local domestic abuse violence center and wear it every day. If enough of us do, maybe then the Neanderthals (I won't call them men because they're not) who do these terrible things to people they're supposed to love will understand that their gig is up.
We need to say as a society that we're not going to put up with it anymore.