Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I read an article about why domestic violence awareness hasn’t caught up with the #MeToo movement and thought I’d share some of the findings.

After the #MeToo movement went viral, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence created its own hashtag, #SurvivorSpeaks to try to bring more attention to the issue, but it has not taken off the way #MeTo has. There is still a lot of stigma around domestic violence. There is the added layer of blaming the victim because the abuse happens over several months or years in what people view as a consenting adult relationship. “Why doesn’t she just leave?” is asked over and over without sympathy or understanding for the victim.

Another reason is the #MeToo movement has shown the strength of multiple accusations, but in most cases, men have not been held accountable until several women have spoken up together. This is difficult to replicate in domestic violence cases, where there is one victim in an isolated relationship who is unlikely to know about past abuse. Domestic violence victims usually speak up alone.

There is another element missing from the conversation surrounding domestic violence—public outrage. It often takes a high-profile celebrity case to start a cultural movement. When it happens to regular people no one seems to care. Victims haven’t seen others hold domestic abusers accountable. They are often afraid to speak out against their abuser because of dire consequences—even death. As a society we must decide to take seriously the issue of domestic violence and work towards eradicating it.

In my novel SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Katie is a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault at the hands of her famous plastic surgeon husband, Claude who has also controlled all the finances. Katie finds ways to save money in order to escape with her child but is hesitant to speak out or go to the authorities for fear of her life.

Take good care of yourselves,