Domestic Violence

On Monday, the Family Crisis Intervention Center, which operates the domestic violence center here, held a candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence at Point Park. While the event was held to shine a light on the darkness of this type of violence, the majority of speakers were women who escaped from these situations and took control of their lives. They were there to give hope to women still caught in these prisons of violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If anyone believes domestic violence is not a big problem here or throughout the United States, we offer these statistics:

* In the United States a woman is beaten or assaulted every 9 seconds;

* More than three women are murdered in the U.S. everyday by their husbands or boyfriends;

* Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women-more that muggings, car accidents and rapes combined;

* Studies indicate up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year;

* Studies also indicate that children who witness their parents’ domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents, meaning the cycle of domestic violence will likely continue.

Unfortunately, West Virginia and the Mid-Ohio Valley have contributed their fair share to those statistics. Nearly 30 deaths in the state were attributed to domestic violence in the past year. And in that same period of time the Parkersburg housed 3,006 people trying to escape domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not like random violence where an attacker is usually not known. Domestic violence is abuse from a partner, a person that should be trustworthy and protective, not brutal and sadistic.

Unfortunately, how to stop domestic violence is a question easier asked than answered. Arrests can-and have-been made. Restraining orders can-and have-been issued. But, in too many instances this does nothing to stop a partner who is a ticking time bomb, whose anger takes control of his or her mind.

And even more unfortunate, many women being abused can be made to feel so isolated and so inadequate they often do not even seek help for their abuse, insuring it will continue.

There were approximately 50 people at Monday’s vigil, many who had experienced first-hand the nightmare of domestic violence. Some told of the horror they had faced at the hands of abusive partners. However, they also told of their escape from those situations, and the help-and hope-they received from people at the shelter. “Six years ago, I walked into the crisis intervention center,” said a speaker. “They showed me I could survive and I was worth surviving.”

Domestic violence needs to be stopped wherever it occurs. Making everyone-and not just its victims-aware of its existence is a good place to start.