We usually only hear about domestic abuse cases that result in maiming, murder, or public violence and outbursts. We don’t hear about the day-to-day insults, put-downs, hard grabs, shoves, threats, incessant text messages, punches. We don’t hear about the most common form of domestic abuse, financial abuse, which occurs in ~98% of domestic violence cases. But children living in these homes do.
There are no physical signs to going over bills and payments with a highlighter or demanding the change and receipts at the end of each day. There are no bruises when someone is told which shirt to wear and which buttons to close. But the children see it and hear it and process it.
So when I read about the horrific end results like the recent shooting of a mother of three by her domestic partner, I also think about what her three children (all six and younger) have experienced over the years. I think about how children living in abusive homes form ideas about relationships and how to treat family members and how to show love and how to learn to trust others and how to survive.
Those of us who can MUST speak up and scout resources and have information at the ready in case we are called on to share it. Those of us who can MUST stop looking away and being polite and brushing aside things that seem off.
Because it does affect us all. These children are in our schools. Our religious institutions. Our neighborhoods. Our grocery stores. Our homes. We all know someone who is living in a domestic violence situation. We all know someone who is an abuser. It’s a challenge to which we all must rise.
Please join me at the 5th Annual S.O.F.I.A. Walk Against Domestic Violence in Montclair’s Canterbury Park. Whether you’re a sponsor, a donor, a walker, a team leader, or help spread the word — you are appreciated!