To the Point for 11/3/2005

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EVERY NOW AND THEN you come across a piece of information that sticks with you. Most of the time it’s a phrase or a sentence that may mean very little to most people, but recently I heard something that I can’t get out of my mind.

The statistic involved domestic abuse of women by either their husband or a male living in the household. Domestic abuse is something that we’ve all heard about and seen the tragic results of at different times during our lives; and many times we simply don’t know what to do with the information that we’ve been told.

So we ignore it.

We, like many others around the country, hear the stories of women who have been the victims of domestic abuse and — not wanting to get involved — either physically or emotionally turn away and pretend like we never heard a thing.

Sometimes what we hear is a cry for help — and sometimes what we don’t hear rings even more loudly in our ears and in our hearts and minds.

No one thinks anyone deserves to be beaten and abused by anyone else — especially not someone that supposedly loves you and has pledged themselves to you.

Domestic abuse is more than what we see on those police dramas on television. Our TV image is a lady wrapped in a gray blanket with a black eye and her hands on the shoulders of her little children.

Those cases are wrapped up in a 60-minute episode — but the reality of life is that it’s much more complicated than that.

One of the things that we really try and push out of our minds is that sometimes domestic abuse doesn’t end with a black eye. Sometimes the abuse is so severe that a woman loses her life.

And that brings me back to the statistic I heard. Here it is:

Every year 4,000 women die from domestic abuse.

We’re not talking about women who spend a week in a women’s shelter and then get some counseling and go back to a happy life.

We’re talking about abuse so severe that a person’s life is taken from them.

At the rate of 4,000 per year. About 77 women a week. That’s 11 women each and everyday.

Need more of a visual?

United States Census data for Switzerland County from 2000 shows that this county has 3,354 women living here who are at least 18 years of age.

So take every female age 18 and up who lives in Switzerland County — everyone of them — and put them in the same place at the same time. It would be a large gathering of women.

Now image that they aren’t here anymore.

None of them.

All gone.

Forever.

Domestic abuse is a cancer on our society, and maybe the time has come to stop talking about it and start working to abolish it. Each and every person on a purely human level deserves the right to live a life free of the fear that they are going to be beaten or injured at the hands of someone else.

It’s a basic, human right that each and everyone of us deserves.

Because some people don’t have the ability or the resources to get out of those situations, as a society we need to make sure that those opportunities and resources are available.

I am ashamed to admit that in the past I have been one of those people who “talks a good game” when it comes to helping those affected by domestic abuse, but never really put my time or efforts or position toward actually helping get it stopped.

But 4,000 women die each and every year because of this. If it was a physical ailment, telethons would be held to raise money for research to find a cure.

But this cure is found not just in justice, but also in education. As a society we need to stand together and make sure that the message is clear that we will not stand for this.

If you’re still not convinced, keep picturing the 3,354 adult women who live in Switzerland County. They are mothers and wives and daughters and sisters.

And statistically. They’re all gone.

That sticks with you.