Domestic violence is happening in homes across the state. In July of last year 13 New Jersey inhabitants sadly lost their lives as a result of domestic violence in our society.
When this issue comes to mind, our minds leap to images of an abusive husband cowering over his meek and mild wife. But this paints a false image. Anyone can become victim to domestic violence. Man or woman, and it doesn’t limit itself to romantic relationships. It can rear its ugly head in any kind of family relationship. Nor does it limit itself to physical violence. Excessive control, isolation, or emotionally abusive behaviors also fall into the category. And cause just as much lasting damage.
Nobody deserves to be on the receiving end of violence in the home. And although none of us can provide one single solution to the problem, there are a few actions we can all take to move that bit closer to a world without domestic violence.
Don’t ignore the signs
You may consider it none of your business, but if you suspect domestic violence, ignoring it could end in tragedy. With so many victims losing their lives to the hands of a loved one, it is a very real threat. It could be something as simple as passing on the phone number of a domestic violence outreach organization. Or maybe even a tactful word in someone’s ear. Don’t just stand by and hope that the worst doesn’t happen. Make sure to get domestic violence help for those who need it.
Call the police if you experience or know of any domestic violence
Many can worry about escalating an already tumultuous situation by involving the police. However, the state of New Jersey has effective laws put in place to protect those on the receiving end of abuse in the home, and penalize the perpetrator of said violence. Having abusive parties held accountable for their actions has potential to act as a deterrent. Get domestic violence help if you need it.
Teach our children healthy relationship norms
As with all big changes in attitude. Ending domestic abuse for good begins with educating future generations from a young age. We are role models to our children and by showing them relationships based on trust and mutual respect, we demonstrate a norm for communication in which violence has no place.
One reason domestic violence lives on so strongly is that it is a crime often kept actively hidden by all parties involved. Victims sometimes feel undue shame, and fear others will judge them for ‘letting themselves be treated badly’. However, it is important to speak up and talk about our experiences. Both in teaching our children to reject violence as a solution. And in empowering those still suffering at the hands of an abuser to break free and move on with their lives.
Donate time or money to the cause
If you’re serious about combating domestic violence, and you have a couple of spare hours or can afford to part with a few dollars. Then programs such as the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) could always do with extra support. This coalition works towards ending domestic violence in New Jersey while educating communities and supporting survivors.