Domestic violence thrives in silence.
The taboo of “not airing dirty laundry” too often results in women (and men) not reporting abuse. The fear of abandonment, loss of income, loss of social status or even the fear of being labeled as a “victim” has too many people not speaking up and not seeking out help.
But now’s the time to change. Now is the time to wear purple, now is the time to take a stand against what goes on behind closed doors and now is the time to get involved.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
So, how can you help? Easy. Here are just a few ways:
Volunteer your time with an advocacy group.
Make a donation to a battered woman’s shelter in honor of people in your life who have been impacted by domestic violence.
Participate in 2016’s National Week of Action from Oct. 16-22.
Wear purple — the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month — during the month of October and tell people why you’re wearing purple.
Talk with a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor about domestic violence to help erase the stigma of talking about domestic violence and to show survivors that they will be supported.
Join the conversation online by speaking out on social media sites.
Educate yourself on the statistics, the signs of abuse and what to do if you yourself or if you suspect someone you know is being abused.
Finally, if you see something, say something.
The idea that “It’s none of my business” is one of the things that allows the abusers to continue their destructive ways. Often times a victim is not in a position to help themselves. Although resources are out there to help, sometimes the abused man or woman is too afraid or too ashamed to seek it out.
In these cases, the encouraging words of a friends or family member can give that person the courage they need to step forward and admit when something is wrong.
According to statistics, South Carolina is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to violence against women. Don’t let your friends, family neighbors or yourself be another victim — seek help.
Here in Pickens County, MARY’S House is a Christian based organization designed to give women and their children a safe place to go — and October is their “busy month.”
Besides the candlelight vigil held recently on the Pickens County Courthouse steps, MARY’S House also recently held their annual masquerade ball at the Bleu Voodoo restaurant in downtown Easley.
“We never turn away help,” said MARY’S House Board of Directors chairman Brian Cowan. “Donations of time, money, clothes — if you can give it, we will accept it. Gratefully.”
Cowan said although the organization is an emergency shelter, it’s not like they would ask people to leave.
“Their safety is the most important thing. If they don’t have any place to go, we’re not going to kick them out. That’s not who we are, that’s not what we do. But it can get expensive.”
For more information on how you can get involved to help end domestic violence, visit www.maryshouse.com.