Guest Post by Felicia Simpson, Founder and Executive Director of A New Me Foundation.
When I hear and read statistics such as: in the city of Chicago, there are over 500 calls reported daily for domestic violence incidents, or 1 in 4 women will be abused in their life time and 1 in 3 teen girls will be abused, it is beyond overwhelming to my spirit. Domestic violence is presented to our community in two ways: either our communities care, or they don’t. Simple. Bottom line. It amazes me that once a year domestic violence is only “highlighted” a few days in the month of October and then over shadowed even more because that’s the same month as breasts cancer awareness. But yet our lives and our communities suffer daily due to the increased rates of violence against women and children who live there.
Let’s take a step back, when you were little, you were told that famous line that momma only had to tell you once, “What goes on in this house STAYS in this house”. That one famous line is the same line that is causing so many deaths, drug and alcohol addictions, health disparities, rape, child molestation, new cases of HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, debt due to unpaid medical expenses….. these are as I like to call it, side effects of domestic violence in our communities. Some are easy to relate to the cause of cycles of violence. Others you may question, what does that have to do with domestic violence and the impact it has in our communities? The answer, what goes on in your house, affects all that live inside your community at some point. For instance, that victim or abuser of domestic violence that has become addicted to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, now or soon will have major health problems, causing them to stay a resident in the county or local hospitals emergency room, assuming that they likely don’t have insurance…. guess what? That victim is now in debt, stressed and blood pressure is soaring through the roof to find extra money and will probably do just about anything to get it…… Have you noticed what is happening here? From one domestic violence case in our community, society has just housed another possible, inmate, terminally ill patient, rape victim etc. Now another person in our community is making “us” look bad.
The property value of our homes go down because after so many holes and tears in the walls, the foundation of the house is no longer valuable. The abuser isn’t working and recently the victim got fired because their employer was tired of their boyfriend coming to their job, making a scene and making them loose faithful clients and revenue. So now what, the mortgage cannot be paid and there’s another boarded up house on our block. Here’s another famous line, “Whelp, there goes the neighborhood”.
Most homicides due to domestic violence leaves a trillion questions for the grieving victim’s family of what and how they would’ve done something different. Or now, the family of the abuser, who didn’t physically lose his life, but now that person is physically lost in our judicial system adding to the already overpopulated correctional facilities. Now our community loses another person who, if had been helped and or treated, possibly would’ve been another productive citizen in our communities and not another hindrance. I always make awareness that if we only “fix” or “advocate for the victims of domestic violence and not the abuser, the families involved or educate the community, we will NEVER end domestic violence. To me, I have seen enough of the people in our communities die silently and slowly from domestic violence and I work diligently to raise awareness and educate our community to know that domestic violence is PREVENTABLE.
There have been many celebrity lives affected by domestic violence played out in the media. Our communities, who endorse and help pay the salaries of these celebrities, need to take more action in providing more money into prevention services and not funerals and tax dollars for prison inmates each year. Celebrities that we’ve seen the effects of domestic violence include Rhianna and Chris Brown, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lazada or the recent alleged murder and suicide of NFL player, Jovan Belchr and his girlfriend. Hollywood has provided us with movies such as “Precious”, “For Colored Girls” and “Enough”, to give us a glimpse of how domestic violence plagues our communities. Too often the communities wait too long to respond and we are attending another funeral or watching the slow but fast demise of another loved one.
How can the community help end violence against women and their children? Start by educating yourself, the block you live on, discuss it at the town hall meetings, book clubs, fraternal or sorority chapter and regional meetings, family dinners, volunteer at the shelters for battered women and their children or homeless shelters (some of the women that live in shelters is due to leaving an abusive partner), use your social media accounts, donate money to organizations to help them continue to provide services, talk to your children and their friends and anyone with a listening ear, that we have a serious problem in our communities and we need to do something about it. I thank you in advance for what you will set forth to do after reading this post to help victims of domestic violence and their families. May God continue to bless you and all that you do in the lives of others as we continue to help break the silence of domestic violence in our communities.
For more information on ways to donate or volunteer, you can contact me, Felicia T. Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773)469-6758.
Felicia T. Simpson, a proud mother of three children, a four time self – published author, Motivational Speaker, and a Family Violence Prevention Specialist. She is the Founder and Executive Director of A New Me Foundation that serves as an advocacy platform for domestic violence victims, survivors and their families who are affected by domestic violence. Felicia works throughout the city of Chicago teaching violence prevention classes in grammar and high schools. Her motivation for providing these services is because at one point, she was a victim and continuously survives to teach others how to break the silence of domestic violence in our communities.