I knew domestic violence is a large problem in our society. Until I read these statistic, I did not realise how large.
Every week, on average, in Australia, more than one woman is murdered by her present or former partner.
Family violence is now the leading cause of death and injury for women under 45, and a staggering one-in-three women experience violence by a former or present intimate partner.
It is a national problem that accounts for 40% of police time, costs the national economy $14 billion each year and affects more than one million children.(Green Left Weekly)
That’s not just large. That’s gargantuan.
I know from speaking to police officers who are friends over the years that this is one of the largest parts of their job. Every night, women just like me are being battered.
The Salvation Army in South Africa recently released a highly effective campaign speaking out against domestic violence capitalising on the hype surrounding the viral black and gold/blue and black dress. By the by, I thought it was gold and lilac, but in this picture, you can’t ignore the black and blue.
Today my thoughts are for the girls that Tish is cycling 40 days for.
Children are also the innocent victims of domestic violence. In 2006 UNICEF estimated that in between 133 million – 275 million children witness domestic violence. MILLIONS. Yes, I’m shouting. This is an epidemic. We need to raise our voices in horror.
These children constantly exposed to domestic violence are being abused themselves. Even if a hand has not be laid on them. The psychological impact of growing up in this environment is understandably long.
This list is not exhaustive. They are more likely to be involved in conflict with peers and participate in substance abuse. They are more likely to have eating disorders, leave school early and commit suicide. Perhaps most worrying of all is that children who grow up with frequent exposure to domestic violence are more likely to repeat the cycle. Boys in particular are more likely to repeat the cycle of violence and be approving of violence. Girls are more likely to choose abusive partners become victims when they are adults.
The thing with women’s issues, is they are not only women’s issues. They are men’s issues also. They are societies issues. With issues such as domestic violence it is so often a case of damaged men damaging women.
For me, sitting in my white middle class home, it’s easy to be complacent. To pat myself on the back that I am bringing children up that will not commit domestic violence. Apart from the fact that it’s dumb to be complacent, this is MY problem. I am not OK with that domestic violence is so prevalent in our society. I am not OK with this issue being so widespread. I’m not OK with it draining justice, medical and police resources. I do not like the economic costs it has on our society with lack of productivity and unemployment. I am not OK with the amount of damaged people that are trying to recover from abuse.
This is a problem we need to address as a society. To address an issue this large takes individuals tackling one issue at a time. Every time we stand up against this issue we are fighting back. For myself, the statistics I shared at the beginning of this post is enough for my radar to be tuned in for opportunities that I may help. At this stage my contribution may be small, but small is never insignificant. Especially when collectively we all start making small differences.
Are you in?
Were you aware of the prominence of domestic violence in our society? Got any solutions?
PS. One way you can start making a difference in donating to Tish’s 40 km for 40 days ride. Tish directly works with girls who are affected by domestic violence.
Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.