In 1987, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month was established to bring attention to this pervasive issue, support survivors and unify those who work with survivors.
That was the same year I began as the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director for the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM).
Over the past 28 years I have met thousands of women who have experienced the perils of domestic abuse.
These strong and determined women believed a life free from violence was possible, even faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.
They believed in a better, safer life as do the hundreds of survivors who are currently utilizing WRCNM services.
Since the late ‘80s I’ve also seen changes in how individuals and our society view domestic abuse and survivors, however we still have work to do.
A recent article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine reveals one out of five men admit to pushing, slapping, hitting, choking or committing some other form of violence against his intimate partner.
Although this statistic makes it sound as if change hasn’t occurred, it is a step forward to acknowledge the problem exists, to write about it and talk about it.
I believe breaking the silence about the reality of domestic abuse is a positive change.
During the past year, the issue of domestic violence has ignited national conversations on the need to further break the silence around intimate partner violence.
High-profile cases have brought this issue—and conversations about it—out from behind closed doors and into our workplaces, homes and schools.
I believe ending domestic abuse is about changing what is acceptable behavior in our culture – stepping out of our comfort zone to stand up and speak out against this type of violence.
I believe both men and women are ready and willing to do so.
During October, and year round, talk about the important issue of domestic and dating violence.
Let others know that you think domestic abuse is unacceptable.
Finally, keep believing we can put an end to this violence.
Change takes time and although it may not happen in my lifetime, I do believe in generations to come we will change behaviors and attitudes that allow violence against women to persist.
Stand up. Speak out!
For immediate help or information, call the WRCNM’s 24-hour crisis line at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995.
Chris Krajewski, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc.