There was a family who lived a few houses away from my childhood home that I’m thinking about. One of their sons was a playmate of mine for a couple of years. I frequently heard loud vocal quarrels happening at that house either because I was playing with my friend at his house or I was outdoors in my own yard.
If I was at my friend’s house and an intense quarrel had started, my young friend usually ushered me out of the house. I knew the conflicts deeply embarrassed him. There were probably a few times when I was unable to gracefully leave during the fights. I remember the mother coming over to me afterwards requesting that I go home. Her hair was messed up, her clothing was in disarray, and she had been crying.
These are memories that never go away from the mind of a witness. I’m sure the domestic violence my friend and his family endured affected them negatively the rest of their lives. It’s probably due to the fact I witnessed the results of these conflicts that I’m concerned about the problem of domestic violence and sexual assault.
It’s very troubling that in families, the very groups of people with whom we should find safety and love, that some of the worst violations of decent behavior happen. According to the people at “Joyful Heart”:
“One in three women (30%) and one in seven men (14%) report being a victim of domestic violence; one in five women (20%) and one in sixteen men (6%) report being a victim of sexual assault.
60% of Americans, 15 years of age or older, know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Among the 70% of women who have experienced domestic violence and told someone about it, more than half (58%) said that no one helped them.
Only 47% of men experiencing domestic violence report telling someone about it, and with good reason. Of men who did tell someone, 87% reported that no one helped them.”
This week more people are being made aware of the serious nature of domestic violence and sexual assault. There are public service announcements being aired in many areas and on Internet sites. The public campaign may make us feel uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Many people do not realize how serious the problem is.
The “NO MORE Campaign is doing important work. If you feel moved enough to help, you can find @NOMOREorg on social media and elsewhere on the Web.
Regarding my neighborhood friend, one hot summer afternoon, there was an especially noisy quarrel that only ended when a police cruiser arrived at their house. An officer led my friend’s father across the yard and placed him in the back seat of the police car. The next day, a moving van parked in front of the house to remove the family’s belongings. That was the last time I ever saw my pal.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes actress, producer, model Salma Hayek. “If you give me any problem in America I can trace it down to domestic violence. It is the cradle of most of the problems, economic, psychological, educational.”