by Rita Saxon Wearbon, Legal Advocate, Safe Harbor
We have all heard the saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”. The same concept applies to the prevention of Domestic Violence. It takes an entire community to eliminate it.
When someone is a victim of Domestic Violence, the first feeling is often loneliness. It is important that victims speak out so that family and friends can provide a strong support system and encourage victims in the process of seeking help and safety. It is also important for Law Enforcement to hold the perpetrator accountable for the crime and to ensure that the victim is connected to a victim advocate, so that his or her voice can be heard at bond hearings as well as other criminal hearings. Judges must take a stand against Domestic Violence by issuing Orders of Protection, upholding contempt charges, and imposing the maximum sentence to offenders at criminal hearings in order to protect the victim and to encourage the offender to end his or her abusive behaviors. Faith Leaders must encourage equality in marriages and relationships and discuss the issue of Domestic Violence openly in their congregation or faith community. It is important for all community leaders and members to teach that all people are valuable individuals who deserve respect.
Victims, family, friends, law enforcement, judges, faith leaders, and community members must all contribute to the cause. If everyone works together and conveys the same message that Domestic Violence is morally, legally, and spiritually wrong, things would change. Domestic Violence crimes could decrease or may even be eliminated.
I want to leave you with this quote from Carson McCullers: “The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” Let’s not make this fatal mistake! Together, as a community, we can work towards ending Domestic Violence.