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BLOG: October: An Awareness Overlooked

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.

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.

www.sarc-maryland.org

24 Hour Helpline: 410.836.8430

Thank you.

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Hollee Sifford October 20, 2011 at 02:56 PM
AWESOME that you brought this AWFUL CRIME to the forefront and refreshed awareness!!!!And "YES" if you or a loved one is in a abusive situation just remember "TOMORROW" may never come:(...Sometimes it seems like there is no end in sight but there is you just have to dig down deep for the strength to make the change for you and YOUR LOVED ONES!!!
Linda Stine Flint October 20, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Women so need to be reminded to get out -- but knowing from experience, it is easier said than done, once you do it sometimes feels like you are alone, but you really aren't. But you feel that way because how do you explain to non-understanding people, even friends who you thought would understand say things that are just unintentionally hurtful. Sometimes women are afraid to go because they worry about how the kids will be taken care of....because you see, even the police and social workers don't believe you. I am a firm believer in the vows you take, but domestic violence wasn't part of it. I was fortunate that in spite of family and in spite of friends....I did finally pull myself up and kick him out. It has been a tough journey but happy now that my kids and I don't have to worry. The shocked couple that saw my ex screaming/cursing at me in the parking lot the other week, that was only mild. You know.....they never change! Thank you for continuing to raise awareness.....women who are in any kind've domestic violence .... be strong, get out while you can.
kzk October 25, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Yesterday was four years for my freedom! My sister and father waited until he left for work, and by noon, I had a protective order, two suitcases and my birth certificate!
Jill Bracewell October 25, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Thanks you for all of your comments, and to the survivors I say: WAY TO GO!!! Keep your heads up, never give up and stay strong. For each other, your kids, yourselves. Keep moving forward... Jill

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