Editorial: Domestic violence is enabled by secrecy — make the call
On Saturday morning, Darien’s first responders will walk a mile in high heels as part of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” domestic violence awareness campaign. The walk begins at 9 a.m. adjacent to Hindley School and is sponsored by Darien Domestic Abuse Council.
In a town where so many strive, and often seem to achieve perfection, it can be hard to admit you need help. Everywhere you look, there are perfect cars, perfect people, perfect clothes and especially, perfect families. So when faced with a problem such as domestic violence, it is tempting to hide behind that veil of perfection and hope to ride it out, expecting things to get better. Because, often in this town, it can seem like it’s better to pretend, than for others to know the truth.
Perhaps that’s why domestic violence remains one of the most underreported crimes against women.
Often, it can carry with it a shame or a guilt that is not associated with other crimes. It is also sometimes hard to define because of its many forms. Not all of them are physical or obvious. Abuse can just as easily come in the forms of demeaning words, of power plays and emotional manipulation.
It can make the victim feel responsible for keeping a family intact, for protecting a loved one, for maintaining a reputation in the community, and defending professional integrity — despite the situation not being of their making.
It also is a crime that can happen repeatedly — because of its nature.
Because it is easier to escape a stranger than a person you have a history with, a person you have children with – a person you love, and turn to in your most terrible hours for stability.
And it is much harder not to forgive that person, and even harder to run.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It serves a reminder that we need to do more to help domestic violence victims. We need to keep an open dialogue about it.
And we need to support our friends and family who might go through it and ask hard questions if they arise.
If you need help, or someone you know does, please call the Domestic Violence Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline at 888-774-2900.
What do you have to lose by calling?
More importantly — what do you have to lose if you don’t?