“Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay it’s Independence Day” – Martina McBride, “Independence Day”
Clearly we think of Independence Day as the day our forefathers declared independence from England because they were done with the tyranny, being taxed without representation and a litany of other grievances. But there are still many fighting for their independence as we speak, fighting against tyranny of another sort.
Domestic violence is still very prevalent in this country, more than many would like to think. People forget that violence is in many forms, not just physical. Violence can be physical, emotional, sexual and verbal (though that’s very close to emotional abuse), economic. The point is.. it’s used to control another person, to keep them from being free or independent.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has plenty of information regarding statistics. They also cite their sources if you want to look even more into the topic. For me, some of the more important facts that stick out include how often the perpetrator is someone the victim knows. There is also the fact that boys, more often than girls, who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to become perpetrators themselves. Scary. NCADV reported that one in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. I’m sorry but that’s one in six or one in 33 too many.
One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, according to the coalition. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Is anyone else disturbed by these numbers? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines intimate partner violence as physical, psychological or sexual harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Perpetrators aren’t always spouses or former partners. They are sometimes a family member or friend (in those cases it may not be considered IPV, but it’s still violence).
I don’t know that I want to get into all the details of this very serious topic, but I want to remind readers – whether that be followers or those passing by, being free of violence on a day to day basis something that is overlooked by many. We often take for granted the ability to make certain choices free of someone else’s anger or hostility; to be able to come and go without someone constantly checking our phones and bills to ensure you’re not doing something that person has okay’d .
To be free of worry of being hit, bruised and battered, free of fear of being raped… again for the third or fourth night in a row is nothing to take for granted. I often hear people talk about how they don’t get how a battered woman stays in a bad relationship. It’s always easy for those of us on the outside to think we know what’s best or how we’d react to such situations. The problem is, however, that we forget that when it comes to domestic violence, particularly physical abuse, emotional abuse almost always follows. Economic abuse can happen also, which contributes to making it hard to leave. That battered woman isn’t just physically put down, her, and sometimes his, self-esteem is brutally reduced, sometimes to nothing. How can you leave someone when you’ve been convinced you don’t deserve better?
I know I’m focusing on women, but the truth is… men can be victims also. Of course, and very sadly, children are often victims also. I’m not choosing to get too detailed on that one right now but know that I am including them. I’ve read some disturbing statistics recently about men in the military and rapes against men in the military happens more often than against women. Rape is NEVER a crime of passion. A rape against a man isn’t about sex and typically isn’t about homosexuality. It’s about power, control and humiliation. What better place to prove dominance than in the military? Please understand, I have a profound respect for the military, which is why I volunteer to support the troops. I only bring this up because I respect those folks and they should be treated better than they are when they are so willing to serve our country.
I started this post with Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.” In the song, a married woman knows she can’t get out of a situation and finally resorts to arson to get out. I think the question to ask here is: what are you willing to do for your freedom? for your independence? She was willing to sacrifice herself in order to get rid of him. Dire, but she’s free now. It was worth it to her. I hope that others, including myself, get more involved to doing what we can to stop this, to keep from so many from not being free. Less hate and anger and more love and patience… please. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for a day – how would you like to not be free?
Some links for you if you’re interested in reading some more about this topic: