By: Teresa Helton-Garrett
Seymour Herald Staff Writer
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and is a growing concern for our local community.
Domestic violence is violent behavior committed by one intimate partner against another. The violence can be physical, sexual or psychological with the primary purpose to control or dominate or hurt another within the relationship.
Primarily, women are the victims of domestic violence and children become victims when they observe a parent being abused. Most often the batterer is a man who does the beating and a woman who is beaten but there are also women beaten by other women, some men who are beaten, and the children and elderly are also often recipients of abuse or witnesses of abuse.
Estimating rates of domestic violence continues to be a difficult task. Many factors inhibit individuals from reporting these crimes. The private nature of the event, the perceived stigma, and the belief that no purpose would be served in reporting the problem keep an unknown portion of the victims from talking about the event.
Domestic violence occurs at all levels of society, in all classes and communities, regardless of social, economic, or cultural backgrounds.
We need to insure that more people know and understand that domestic violence is not a private matter. It is a critical national problem that affects us all — in every community, in every work place and in every school.
President Clinton recognized the seriousness of the problem when he signed the Violence Against Women Act as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States Federal Law. It was passed as Title IV, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Section 40001-40703 of the HR 3355 and signed as Public Law 103-322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994
The law provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted.
Too many people continue to believe that domestic violence is a private matter between a couple, rather than a criminal offense that merits a strong and swift response.
In the past 25 years, the Department of Justice has sought to combine tough federal penalties along with substantial resources to the states to begin dealing with the problem of domestic violence in a comprehensive, multi-faceted way.
These crimes are serious. Experience shows that levels of violence in these relationships tend to escalate, and many police departments cite domestic violence as their number one problem.
Domestic violence is everybody’s concern. The long term effects of domestic violence have not begun to be fully documented but what is known is shocking, long lasting, and a drain on all of society. The emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by batterers may be more costly to treat than the physical injuries inflicted.
According to the Knoxville Bar Associations website, many of the physical injuries sustained by women seem to cause medical difficulties as women grow older: Arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease have been identified by battered women as directly caused by aggravated domestic violence early in their lives.
If anyone knows an individual who is a victim of domestic violence please contact National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE.
Anyone who has a domestic violence ex they wish to contribute Domestic Violence Awareness Month please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Weeks Edition Domestic Violence: We Can Live Without It.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
By: Teresa Helton-Garrett