Time to Shatter the Silence
We have the ability and responsibility to speak out when we see and hear domestic violence. We can control what we see and hear by addressing it. We can interfere with the silence that is so often associated with this horrible situation by speaking out. We can shatter the silence by making that choice. Domestic violence is abusing a partner in a relationship in order to gain control over them. This social injustice is a worldwide issue that continues to grow, as well as a national health concern. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, no matter what race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Domestic violence regards violence and abuse occurring in relationships, but the partners are not always the only ones affected. Children with ages ranging from 3-17 are at risk of being exposed to domestic violence in the United States. If the victim or aggressor has children that witness or are also the ones being abused, they can also be greatly affected both physically and psychologically. Children witnessing a parent using violence and abuse to gain control of the other may convince them that abuse is the appropriate way to get what they want. The responses of these children can be either emotional or behavioral. These effects can be either short-term or long-term. Emotional and behavioral effects of domestic violence on children are usually short-term. Some emotional effects can include fear, guilt, depression, or shame. Some behavioral effects include acting out or withdrawal. Children may even show signs of anxiety or short attention span, which will most likely result with doing poorly in school. Children may also express their feelings with violence. One very significant long-term effect of witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Whether a child is abused or even just witnessing the physical abuse of their parent, they suffer both emotional and psychological trauma from living in a home where one parent is abused by the other. Children living in homes where abuse is present may end up resulting to things like alcohol and drug use, juvenile delinquency, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are many ways to assist in helping prevent domestic violence around you. One way is to know the signs of domestic violence. Some red flags an abuser may exhibit is physically intimidating their partner, especially with weapons, as well as embarrassing or shaming them and making them feel guilty for all the issues that arise in the relationship. Another way to help prevent domestic violence is to be available for a victim or even an aggressor. If they feel as if the abuse will escalate, be available to comfort them and help them through the situation, or even helping them find professional help. If you hear or see a situation regarding domestic violence, you should not ignore it. Getting involved in situations involving domestic violence could potentially save someone from constant abuse or even save a life, as domestic violence often gets worse over time. Even lending an ear will help someone get through their situation. Being there to listen to them helps them to realize that they are not alone. Although the psychological trauma of being a victim of domestic violence may be left behind, escaping the abusive relationship and overcoming this social injustice is doing what is best for both the victim and aggressor. Roslyn Kramer, a mother and survivor of domestic violence, says “Although sometimes it does bother me knowing that someone that supposedly cared about me treated me that way, I feel strong and courageous knowing that I was able to walk away to protect myself and my children. Domestic violence is a traumatizing and serious issue. No person or child deserves to be treated that way."