Eight years ago domestic violence really wasn't on my radar. It happened to other people out there somewhere. It involved black eyes and angry men and drugs and alcohol and trips to the ER. I was so misinformed. I didn't get it.
Then I got a front row seat. I watched in horror as one of my daughters became trapped in a relationship with a controlling, manipulative, threatening man. I watched as the life was sucked out of her. I watched as she became a shell of her former self.
It took me a while to put the pieces together. To realize that what she was experiencing was abuse. That this indeed was domestic violence.
I now see it for what it is and I see it all around. Rather than a single blip on my radar, my screen lights up all over as I hear story after story after story of women I know struggling to make sense of what is happening to them or struggling to recover from what was happening to them.
So for the past few years I have listened and learned and read and read some more and attended meetings and training with Helpmate, our local domestic violence organization. I want young women to know the red flags in relationships before they get in too deep. I want women in such relationships to know and understand what is happening to them and to know that there is help. I want friends and family to know how to recognize the signs of these relationships and how to respond with empathy and support. I want churches to become places of safety and refuge.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Each day this month I will address a myth about domestic violence by sharing a little something I have learned. This won't be an academic exercise and I may not be able to track down the source. These will just be tidbits of what I now know. I hope they will be helpful to you.