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Letter to the Editor – Lori L. Berg – 10-14-2015

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is a month to mourn those whose lives have been taken, to celebrate the bravery of survivors, and to connect as a community in order to resist violence and support survivors.

When you think of the term “domestic violence”, what comes to mind? Oftentimes, myths and misconceptions about domestic violence lead us to make assumptions about who is a victim/survivor, or perpetrator, of this crime. For example, the stereotype of a husband who needs “anger management” and a wife who won’t “just leave him” leads to blaming victims and creating excuses for perpetrators. Violence is often comprised of a pattern of power and control tactics, meant to instill fear and powerlessness. And relationships which include aspects of power and control are sadly common. Power and control is an incredibly prevalent dynamic in interpersonal relationships, and society as a whole. Estimates show that 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 15 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence affects children, LGBTQ couples, and affects individuals emotionally, physically, and sexually.

Sadly, as a society, we often do not address these concerns, and even go as far to glamorize certain aspects of violence (i.e. extreme jealously must mean he really loves me; her comment that she can not and will not live without me means she truly cares). Yet one of the most important things we can do to support survivors of violence is to raise our voices as a community and make it clear that we believe them, and will support them in their complicated and difficult choices to ultimately break the cycle of violence.

Lori L. Borg