Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 33: Domestic Violence makes national headlines

In September, anyone who turned on a television at least once saw and heard more than enough about the incident between (now former) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife (then fiancée), Janay Palmer Rice.

If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the story of Mr. and Mrs. Rice, you get no judgment from me. This saga began back in February, but I  only learned of it after TMZ released full video footage of the incident last month.

The silent video tells at least part of the story of the couple’s altercation that occurred inside an elevator in an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino. The result was a fiancé knocked unconscious by the blink-of-an-eye punch from her soon-to-be husband. When the elevator doors opened, I watched, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, as Rice sloppily dragged his fiancée’s limp body from inside and left her straddling the floor between the elevator and elevator lobby.

I don’t want to spend the entire post recapping the many details of this situation. So if by chance this story is new to you, click here to play catch up with CNN’s nice timeline of the key events. Then, if you’re brave, click here to watch the video.

In hindsight, it seemed a matter of fate, actually. I’m certain it wasn’t their intention on that winter night in Atlantic City, but Ray Rice and his bride-to-be bride (at that time) brought domestic violence and abuse to the attention of the entire nation. Their relational woes caught on tape seemed to prepare the way for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) in October.

Some statistics

Thankfully, most men and women never experience the likes of an abusive or violent relationship. However, more than a few among us do. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS), “20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United states.” 20 people per minute…

That’s 1,200 people each hour,

28,800 people each day

and over 10,500,000 men and women each year.

One is certainly too many; 10 and a half million is heartbreaking.

How can I help?

I’m glad you asked. Here are three simple things you can do this month to support the conversation, the cause and the victims of domestic violence:

Wear purple: Purple is the color for DVAM. Choose to wear purple at some point during the month to remind yourself and others that men and women each day are suffering harm at the hands of people who are supposed to “love” them. Remember it doesn’t take much to show your support.

Start a conversation: Click here to learn more facts and stats on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking. Then talk about what you’ve learned with girlfriends, family members and young people. You can even post this cool infographic to your Facebook page or website.

Share your resources: There probably isn’t a city in this country without shelters and organizations to support victims of domestic violence. Find one in your area and share your resources – time, talent, goods (like clothing and toiletries) and financial support – to show support.

Final thoughts…

In the domestic violence conversation terms like “intimate partner violence,” “sexual violence” and “stalking” are easily the attention grabbers. Relational abuse forms like verbal, emotional and psychological abuse don’t make headlines but often inflict deeper harm. The bottom line is unhealthy relationships take on many forms. I’ve included this conversation in the Be Completely You series because I strongly believe understanding who we are can help position us for healthier relationships. Join me next week as we continue the conversation.

Until then…

Be Completely You

P.S. This month, visit these sites to learn more about domestic violencedating violence and teen dating abuse .