It’s October and it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, too (I know there are other awareness issues this month as well). With that in mind it is time, once again, to talk about a subject that I have passion for, and that is reducing domestic violence and the crimes generated from it. I wish we could end domestic violence entirely but we would have as much luck with that as ending drug abuse.
I know I’ve told many of you out there what domestic violence is but I know from the times that I have presented to groups (yes, I could do a presentation for your group), that the message is not being shared about domestic violence.
Domestic violence in one word is all about “CONTROL.” Control through actual or assumed powers but with a main goal of controlling somebody to do whatever the controller (aka batterer) wants them to do. This is also a step that is being used for human trafficking as well.
Many times people believe that domestic violence is all about hitting or punching but that is only at the end of a more sinister pattern. Many times domestic violence starts out with phrases such as; “It’s your fault”; “Your crazy and nobody will believe you”; “Go ahead and call the cops cause you won’t be here when they get here” or even “ I’m sorry, you know I get a little jealous sometimes. It’s because I love you so much.” Some of you out there may have heard these exact words or similar to them. This is where the control usually begins. The end of the pattern usually shows up when police get involved because the physical portion is what we get called to.
You might ask why I have such a passion with a subject that can at best be so dysfunctional. The simple answer is that crimes that start at home usually end up on the streets in the many forms of crime. Those crimes have a simple connection back to the days where there was domestic violence in the home. Those crimes have also led to officers’ deaths as well as victims of and around domestic violence and even the suspects themselves.
My belief is that reducing domestic violence in the home will also reduce crime on the street. This. however. is a generational issue, so the fruits of today’s labor would hopefully show results in next generation.
This is a community problem that as a community we must and can fix. The police are only an essential community partner but it’s the community as a whole that has the power to hold batterers accountable. We can make them know that it won’t be tolerated in our communities. This is a key factor to reducing domestic violence and the crimes associated with it.
I would like to give a few key phrases that can be told to somebody dealing with domestic violence and help support them and maybe get them the help they need before it’s too late. They are: “I afraid for your safety,” “It will only get worse,” I’m afraid for your children’s safety,” “You don’t deserve to be abused,” “I’m here for you whenever you need me” and the most effective one of all: “It’s not your fault.”
We can choose to ignore domestic violence and let the crimes that it produces grow or we can choose to get involved and help our communities. Which do you choose?
Please put these officers, killed in the line of duty, and their families in your prayers. They fought the good fight, now may they rest in peace. God bless these heroes.
Agent Ángel Lorenzo-González, Puerto Rico Police Department
Agent Héctor Matías-Torres, Puerto Rico Police Department
Detective Kristen Hearne, Polk County Police, Georgia
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