As we all know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everything is pink and we are all reminded to check ourselves for Breast Cancer and to remember those who have fought the courageous battle and lost.
I need to make everyone aware of another cause to remember in October. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I got some statistics in regards to domestic Violence that I would like to share with you.
Here are some stats for Harford County. (source): Maryland Uniform Crime Report for 2010:
17,931 domestic violence crimes in 2010 in the state of Maryland
595 cases of domestic violence reported in Harford County
The 5 year average for Harford County is 614
From June 2009 to July 2010 there were 31 deaths due to domestic violence in the state of Maryland: 18 female adults, 1 female child, 11 male adults, and 1 male child.
In Topeka, KS, due to lack of agreement between local and state government, Spousal Abuse was decriminalized. (Source:http://feministing.com/2011/10/12/yep-topeka-kansas-actually-decriminalized-domestic-violence/)
When I read these statistics, I was shocked. I was an abused spouse back in the late 80's, and I was lucky enough to get out of it. The people above were not so lucky. I cannot believe that there are so many who are still suffering domestic violence, most in silence whether it is due to fear of leaving, fear of retribution from a violent partner, financial fears, or fear of death if they leave.
No one should have to live in fear. Whether you are a woman, a man, a child, no one has the right to hurt you physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially. There are plenty of resources available to those who are in need of a safe place to go, therapy, legal assistance, housing, food assistance, etc.
The first step is always the hardest. I fled my abusive marriage with $2.00 in my pocket and my baby asleep in the backseat on 1/4 tank of gas. I hid myself, my child. I got out. If you are reading this and you are in an abusive relationship, get out now. Don't wait for tomorrow, next week, next paycheck. It may never come. Re-read the statistics above. Don't turn into one. Be a success, not a statistic.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence, please contact SARC. They are located here in Harford County, and have tons of resources available for you. There is a 24 hour help line, and and email which I will provide at the end of this blog.
If you are interested in helping, you may donate items to SARC such as: non-perishable food items, full size toiletry items, diapers, wipes, grocery gift cards, baby bath/lotions, etc. You can bring clothing and household items to Tabitha's House. You can contact SARC to adopt a family for the holiday season. You can volunteer your time.
I pray that while you are reminding your moms, friends, daughters, co-workers to check their breast health, that you also make them aware of National Domestic Violence Month. That maybe by just telling one person, you may have saved a life.
24 Hour Helpline: 410.836.8430