Readers Write: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 14, 2008
Unless you are directly affected by domestic violence or work in social services, you probably don’t think about family violence very often. October is a time to remember survivors of domestic violence and recognize that it is a real issue in our community. Not only does domestic violence affect adults, but also children. Last year the Children’s Program at Tahoe Women’s Services served 111 children. Of those children, a majority had witnessed domestic violence.
We have heard horrific stories from the mouths of children in our community. The stories that our child clients tell us are heart breaking. Children are hiding in the bathroom while mom and dad fight, watching a parent strangle another one on the bed, dodging a flying cell phone aimed for mom, watching a parent cut the phone lines so no one can call the police, and listening to endless yelling and name calling.
The effects of family violence on a child can be extremely damaging. Children may have emotional disturbances, poor social boundaries, do poorly in school, and lack healthy self esteem. Children who witness domestic violence often grow up to become a batterer or a victim in adulthood. The cycle of violence continues as each generation learns violence as a way of communicating with loved ones.
The only way to end the cycle of violence is through intervention. Domestic violence is not a private family matter; it affects this whole community. Please contact Tahoe Women’s Services at 1-800-736-1060 if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence.