October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As an ode to Lilly, I’ve been using Twitter to highlight the issue. You too can take a stand and Share Your Voice with America. If you’re a blogger, blog about it, educate your readers. Make a statement that stopping domestic violence should be a community priority. Raising awareness is not brain surgery, anyone can do it. If you use Twitter, you can follow @yogini to receive my updates. Also, please consider joining the Million Voices Campaign, the campaign to end domestic violence through the National Domestic Violence Hotline. And please follow them on Twitter @MillionVoices
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior designed to exert power and control over a person in an intimate relationship through the use of intimidating, threatening, harmful, or harassing behavior. Including, multiple forms of physical abuse, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse. Domestic violence is a crime. It affects everyone, our families, communities and our workplaces. Yet violence against women is often ignored and rarely punished.
The statistics of domestic violence are staggering! According to the U.S. Justice Department, one in four American women have experienced domestic violence directly, and more than half of all Americans (56 percent) say they have at least one friend, relative or co-worker whom they know has been involved in domestic violence. On average, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. Women are much more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.
Domestic abuse may escalate from threats and verbal abuse to violence and murder. Injuries & death are the ultimate consequence but the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence can also leave lasting scars. No one should have to live with this kind of suffering.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, there is help. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Trained advocates are available 24 hours a day/365 days a year. They can refer you to resources available in your area.
The hotline was established in 1996 as a component to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress. VAWA was drafted by Senator Joseph Biden with support from a number of advocacy organizations. There is a safe way out. Start by calling the hotline. It may be a start to a new life, without violence. If you are living with your abusive partner, you should have a safety plan in place.
Where to go for Help:
If you are in immediate danger or have been hurt, call 911. Remember, domestic violence, any kind of physical assault or abuse is a crime. Police are required to
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Nationwide Directory of domestic violence shelters
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Find local support, shelter from domestic violence, or free/low-cost legal services.
In closing, here’s a poem written by Lilly in 2006 when she was pregnant and spending time with my family at our Miami Beach apartment. Lilly, there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think about you and miss you!
in the distance, beneath my mind,
I felt things like cold hands and teeth chattering.
I could barely make out its sounds
but it soothed me somehow,
it was light and translucent.
as I slept,
I felt a horrible black ghost pushing down on my chest,
It violated me.
and it told me things.
I have never been the same!
I dream of flat green prairies that stretch out for days
and crash into the violet lining of the sky in a perfect display of interdependence.
when I go to sleep at night,
I feel the warmth of womb
and the beating of a heart inside of me, and feel at peace.