When the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers started the #NWArkCares campaign, I thought it would be easy. Write a little blog post, spread a little love for great causes online.
And while it was really easy last month to write about literacy, which is one of the most important things to me as a mom and a writer, this month it suddenly became a lot harder.
Our cause this month is domestic violence, because it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
And that’s not easy to write about.
I thought about just skipping it, sharing things online but not writing a post myself.
The other things is, everyone knows someone who’s been a victim of domestic violence. You might not know it, but you do.
One in three women and one in four men are victims of some kind of violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives, so you probably actually know several people who have been physically or psychologically abused.
Abuse is all about power and control, and can manifest in a lot of different ways.
It’s hard to talk about because victim blaming is a real thing, and starting a new life away from an abuser can be extremely difficult.
So What Can We Do?
Everyone can model healthy behavior in their relationships, treat their partners with respect and refuse to resort to violence to get their way.
We can teach our children that violence and manipulation are not the ways to get what they want. We can help them understand what love really is, and be open to them should they ever find themselves in an unhealthy relationship.
We can likewise be open to others sharing their stories of abuse, past or present. We can listen without blaming the victim, and we can help them within our capacity to do so, even if it’s just sharing the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, which is 800-799-SAFE.
We can volunteer or donate needed items to shelters, and we can donate our items to thrift stores (such as the Peace at Home Thrift Store in Fayetteville) that support domestic violence victims.
The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence has a great PDF of 13 ways adults can make ending domestic violence his or her business. There are ideas on their website for middle school and high school students as well, so if you have kids that age, these are great resources.
Locally we have a lot of resources that can help people in violent situations, including:
- Peace at Home Shelter
- Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter
- Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault
It is my wish that everyone could be in healthy, committed relationships and my hope that anyone reading this who needs help will seek it out.