Domestic violence: Awareness isn’t enough

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By Cheryl Bowdridge
Special to The PREVIEW

Domestic violence is a subject that many people would rather not talk about. It is a subject that we like to avoid and many pretend that it does not happen around us.

If you think about it, I am sure that someone you know — or perhaps even you — has been affected by some type of domestic violence, whether it is a form of physical or verbal abuse, control or the effects of domestic violence on a child.

Domestic violence affects one in three women and one in 18 men in their lifetime. About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are assaulted each year by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” July 2000).

Girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rates of domestic violence (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993–1999,” October 2001). A woman is more likely to be injured, raped or killed by a current or former partner than by any other person. (World Health Organization, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, “Violence Against Women: A Priority Health Issue,” July 1997).

I read in the news this week of a 14-year-old boy being stabbed to death by his mother’s boyfriend while trying to defend her during a domestic dispute. Chills crept up my spine as I recalled many instances of defending my mother during my childhood.

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