October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I hate that. Really, I hate that. Of course I understand that it is a tool designed to raise awareness and that whether it is Domestic Violence, Breast Cancer, or any other cause, any awareness is good. But it seems as if there are stories in the news every day about domestic violence, not just in October.
There was a stabbing in Massapequa recently. Fear spread throughout our community. Crime is rising, but violent? Stabbings? Oh that parking lot was always shady. And there were even a few comments regarding the race or economic status of the victim as if somehow that meant she deserved it. Once people get back to rational thinking, I hope that they don’t really mean that. I have a feeling it is an attempt to separate themselves from the crime, figure out ways of feeling secure, that this could never happen to them.
Still, a woman was stabbed by a man who had claimed at one time to love her. I don’t know either party, but when I heard a woman was repeatedly stabbed, I never thought robbery. I thought boyfriend/husband who had lost control of his woman. Stabbing someone repeatedly takes a lot of anger. It takes rage. You really have to want to hurt someone to stab them once let alone several times. We all get mad at our partners from time to time and yes, sometimes there is even rage, but how many of us would hunt down our partner and stab them in a public parking lot with people around and a police booth in broad daylight? Anyone?
We’re seeing more stories like this in the news. They don’t all include knives. Some abusers use only their fists. A beautiful young student at SUNY Brockport was beaten to death by her boyfriend. Not that long ago a young woman in Virginia was beaten and strangled to death by her boyfriend. What made these women stay with men who hurt them? What kind of apology could ever make up for physically abusing someone that you are supposed to care about?
And why are we so quick to feel relief that it wasn’t random crime as if Domestic Violence couldn’t possibly touch our lives? These girls were all loved by someone. They were daughters and sisters and nieces, not just a news report.
For many victims the abuse starts out slowly. It doesn’t start off with a punch in the face and a marriage proposal. Domestic violence is insidious. Abusers are often very charming very charismatic people. The side the victim sees is not always the side friends and family see. Its one of the things that makes it so difficult to comprehend. How could so many people love a person who behaves like an animal? Surely we all think that pummeling someone you love to death with fists is not an act of love.
So while I hate that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I’ll take it. I’ll take anything that can possibly raise awareness for something as awful as beating, raping, choking, stabbing, shooting, stalking, harassing, or killing someone you are supposed to love. I wish that every month could bring awareness but what I really wish is that there comes a time that no month is needed. Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry, but it shouldn’t mean accepting an apology for being physically or emotionally abused by any person claiming to love you.