I opened the local paper today and the headline article read “1 in 5 women hurt by rape”. Now before some scoffmiester starts whining that it’s just another inflammatory bogus survey by a biased group, keep reading. The survey was run by the CDC with the help of the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defence. The article goes on to say that 1 in 4 were the subject of domestic violence. The word they used was “beaten” so that doesn’t even include the bozo’s who hurt with demeaning, thoughtless words. One also has to wonder how many women failed to admit they were victims for fear of reprisal.
One in five were victims of either rape or attempted rape. One in four were victims of domestic violence. So think of it. When you go to the grocery store, if you see five women, odds are one was physically attacked by her husband and one was raped (and probably beaten also). If there was a contagious disease that seriously harmed one in four women there would be public outrage until a cure was found. If one in five women were killed or seriously damaged by an unknown household chemical, there would be no rest until the offending item was discovered and removed
These are not just faceless robots, these are peoples mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and wives. I have four daughters, that means one of them was probably harmed by her husband. It makes my skin crawl. I still haven’t decided if that’s a bad thing (because I can’t get my hands on him) or if it’s a good thing (because my daughters probably don’t want their father in jail!).
So, what can we do? These creeps don’t have a scarlet A (for abuser) on their foreheads. We don’t have any way of attaching an ink bomb on their belts that spreads florescent dye all over them. They look like you and me. I knew a man that was beating his wife, at least I thought I knew him. He was friendly, help any one who needed it, the first one to volunteer for church projects. But one day his wife called mine and asked if my wife could play the organ in her place one Sunday (the lady was our regular organist). She said she wasn’t feeling well. My wife agreed but as soon as the regular service was over my wife went to her house to see if she could help out. That’s when she saw the bruises, the black eye, and the broken arm! Now you didn’t want to get my wife mad, you really really didn’t want to get my wife mad. She called the sheriff, the hospital, and then the leader of our church (bozo was still there in Sunday School). He was never alone with her again. Sadly, many stories don’t end that well.
The point is we can’t tell who these dirtbags are from looking at them. What we can do is see to it that a battered woman has a safe place to go, with her children. Most communities have a woman’s shelter. Most of those shelters are barely surviving. If we are to be real about wanting to end this war against women we need to help those centers. With money if we have it, with time if we don’t. We can donate our old cell phones, even if they have our registration and personal information removed, the 911 function still works and they can be given to women in danger. A restraining order is thin armor. If we can we need to be involved enough that someone is available to console and help the victim. She needs to know that she is not alone, that there are people who care.
We also need to start a harder task. We need to find out what kind of judges we have in our district. We need to find out if they consistently support women subject to abuse or not. If they don’t we need to do everything in our power to either get them off the bench or we need to make sure the public knows every time he turns his back on a battered woman. We need to insure that our police and sheriff’s department understand that woman is the victim!
One in five isn’t a trend it’s an epidemic! One in four isn’t just a statistic, it’s a damning commentary on our society. I don’t have all the answers. No one does, and every case is unique. But I know this. I have four daughters and THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!