Thursday, October 23, 2008

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I wish I’d known sooner that October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, but it’s better late than ever.

What does Barack have to say about this issue?

"We'll stop treating this as just a woman's issue, and start recognizing that when a woman is attacked, that abuse scars not only the victim, but her loves ones, sending currents of violence that ripples across our society."

Well said. Domestic violence isn’t just a woman’s issue and we have to stop treating it that way. So many solutions are centered around what a woman can do to end violence (don’t walk home late at night alone, don’t dress slutty, don’t drink too much, etc.) when they should really be focused on what we need to do to change the culture we live in that condones this violence.

What especially angers me about domestic violence is the enormous amount of victim blaming that is centered on the wives (not that victim blaming is exclusive to domestic violence – it’s not – it’s rampant in all sorts of violence against women). People always ask, why didn’t she just leave? Well, it’s not that easy. The circumstances surrounding each situation are so complex and different and asking why someone didn’t leave is incredibly insensitive, not to mention condescending. The better question is why couldn’t she leave; what made it so difficult to leave that she risked her life by staying?

Raising awareness just one month out of the year won’t end domestic violence. We need to raise hell about this issue every single day and we need a President who will make ending violence against women a national priority.