Domestic violence takes many forms. But in a nutshell, as defined by the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, it is “hurtful, repeated and intentional behavior that one person uses to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship.” Abusive behavior can be verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual.
Domestic violence is not a problem that happens elsewhere, to other people — it doesn’t only occur in certain areas, to certain demographics, to a certain race or class or gender or age or religion. It is everywhere. It is here.
The Weston police responded to 10 incidents of domestic violence so far this year. It’s important to note that — without a shadow of a doubt — if 10 incidents were reported to the police, several times that were and are happening right here in Weston.
Domestic violence is a silent problem — most victims are way too scared or ashamed to seek help. But it doesn’t have to be. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the purpose of which is to give a voice to those who are being silenced, and to spread the word about the help that’s available for victims as well as to educate everyone — especially young people — so that the cycle of domestic violence can be broken.
All people have the right to be safe in their relationships. All people have the right to have control over their own personal choices. Children have the right to grow up free from fear. Teens and adults alike have the right to experience healthy relationships based on trust and respect, not jealousy and suspicion. Seniors have the right to be cared for by those who wish to help them, not take advantage of them.
It’s interesting that Domestic Violence Month is the same month as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Think of how far cancer research and treatment and support has come in the quarter century or so since the awareness campaign began. Cancer was once a word whispered in secret, something which wasn’t talked about or admitted to — much like domestic violence.
But with awareness comes action. Breast cancer awareness has helped millions become survivors, and the same can happen with domestic violence awareness.
The DVCC’s Teen PeaceWorks is teaching kids how to identify abusive tendencies in themselves, their partners, and their friends; they are also learning how to identify possible victims of abuse and how to help them.
The town’s Domestic Violence Task Force is also dedicated to raising awareness and promoting prevention. As a part of that effort, Carrie Bernier, will be speaking at Weston Town Hall on Friday morning at 9 about legal and advocacy services that are available.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center serves anyone who lives in Weston, and their services are extensive, ranging from safehouses, counseling, legal advice and more. Visit dvccct.org.
DVCC also has a 24-hour hotline: 888-774-2900.