The Epidemic We Never Wanna Talk About — Domestic Violence…..
Many people may or may not know that I am a child survivor of domestic violence as well as a domestic violence survivor in relationship abuse. Because of this, I rally especially hard for domestic violence awareness and rape culture education.
A couple of statistics as posted on: americanbar.org:
- Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races
- Black males experienced intimate partner violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 2.5 times the rate of men of other races
- Approximately 40% of black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18
- The number one killer of African-American women ages 15-34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner
- In a study of African-American sexual assault survivors, only 17% reported the assault to police
Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggrevated assault, and simple assault
These harrowing statistics suggest quite simply that—domestic violence is a true epidemic in our communities. And one of the main reasons why this epidemic is where it is statistically (only 17% of all cases actually being reported), is because the topic of domestic violence is one filled with shame, embarrassment, sadness, fear, and usually looked at as, “an issue to be handled within the home”.
Let’s repeat this….
- Victims of domestic violence are filled with shame. This shame is wholly brought on with the feeling of, “I brought this on myself” (self-shame)
- Victims are embarrassed of their circumstances and thus, will not come forward about their abuse due to that embarrassment
- 83% of all African American victims will not report their abuse and rapes committed onto them by their boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives because of said embarrassment, shame, and fear
- Overall, domestic violence in the African American community is normalized and common place. The pain that is felt is hidden and not discussed or talked about. It is not reported or spoken of outside of the home. We are mostly conditioned to believe that “what another house is doing in their own home is their own business”, even if extreme physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial, and verbal abuse is taking place and that victim is in grave danger.
- All victims at one juncture or another SUFFER THEIR ABUSE ALONE!
It is extremely important that we recognize domestic violence as an epidemic. A troubling one that contributes to the overall homicide count of our women, men, and children. If we continue to sweep this under the “leave it in the house” rug, our views of marriage and intimate relationships will eventually become one where we are so numb and unnerved by domestic violence that it becomes something that is normal for us and even accepted.
And why is the mistreatment of women, especially black women, so normal for us to the point of acceptance? Is it normal that Ike instilled so much abuse onto Tina that she became afraid of him and felt trapped, feeling as though she could not leave him? Is it okay that Ray Rice can knock his wife out on camera and drag her unconscious body out of the elevator like the weekend trash all because….she married him anyways, so she must like it? Are we that dismissive to the silent cries and invisible tears and hidden screams of our black women that bear a public Colgate smile but behind closed doors are crying, fearful, and dying inside, wishing they had the courage to leave?
Domestic abuse is extremely real. It is prevalent and problematic. It is damaging and damning. It is scornful, scary, and one of the hidden secrets of our black community.
Domestic violence is abuse and it can only be combatted, halted, and stopped with awareness. By encouraging victims to talk about their abuse to any and everyone, follow up with the oft gruel process of reporting, testing, and persecuting, lamenting on the importance of domestic abuse counseling for support, relief, and most important education to help victims become newly trained survivors of their situations with a new perspective and outlook with regards to their lives, bodies, and relationships as a whole, then and only then will domestic violence be no longer an epidemic that is plaguing our families and attributing to the homicides in our community.