October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I couldn't let the month come to a close without speaking on this issue.
More specifically, I've been thinking about who, exactly, is affected by intimate partner violence, be it physical, verbal, or emotional. No need to recount my own personal story of physical abuse from the hands of my ex because most of you have already heard it. (If not, check the link.) Heck, I still receive messages and emails in regards to that story from people who feel encouraged to share their story. Kudos.
But the statistics* are... frighteningly alarming.
One in four women (25%) will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime.
Women account for 85% of the victims of domestic violence, while men account for approximately 15%.
Women of all races are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence affects people regardless of income.
Nearly three out of four (74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
Between 3.3 - 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.And children learn what they see. Although Aiden did not witness the assaults, it could have been otherwise. And, honestly, it may have only been a matter of time...
This right here. This is what drove me to leave the toxic relationship, even above my own desire to lookout for my own safety and well-being. Parenting. And parenting effectively. As best as I know how.
Because this relationship, this parent-child dichotomy, is the first experience that Aiden will have with the world. This is where he will learn about love and tolerance and peace and acceptance. This is where he will learn about hatred and violence and dysfunctional love (that's not really love) and all the ugly things that my mind won't even let me think about right now. This is where he will learn how to love and how to handle situations effectively and how to deal with stress when the going gets tough.
This is why parenting -- down-and-dirty-and-put-the-kids'-best-interest-first parenting -- is so important.
And this... is why domestic violence affects everyone involved. Period.
The circle of domestic violence is smaller than we think. Don't be silenced. Speak on it. And speak often.