October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Do you have any idea how many people are completely unaware that this is the case? Breast Cancer Awareness, though also very important, gets all the attention while men and women who are battling every day with a very different fear and pain are forgotten.
Domestic violence is not something that can be ignored. But too often that is exactly what happens. Often, those who speak out are shamed, those who seek help are questioned, and those who suffer are silent.
I was silent. For more than fifteen years I hid the reality of the nightmare in my home. Occasionally feeling the waters to see if it was safe to ask for help, but quickly retreating when I realized that it was a hopeless cause.
Yes I got out. With the support of family who finally saw behind the mask. I got out but it wasn’t easy. Ten years later and I still suffer from the emotional and mental side effects. Thoughts and reactions that come out of nowhere, memories of trauma that keep me up at night. Yes, ten years later and I am still suffering.
This is what October DVA is all about. It is about recognizing that those in the situations desperately need help. But it is also important to remember those who are trying to rebuild life. Trying to learn to love again, not just another individual, but seeking to love themselves. DVA is about giving others the tools to recognize the hidden pain and look beyond the scars to see the beauty of the person inside. The beauty that is too beaten down to shine.
How can we promote Domestic Abuse Awareness during the month of October? The NNEDV.org website has some good suggestions But most of us can look around and find someone in our circle who we can see, or suspect, needs help. Reach out, speak out, and don’t walk away. The effects of abuse don’t go away just because the person got out. Years of hurt takes years of healing.
Healing takes time.