Have you seen the trending #Every1KnowsSome1 for domestic violence awareness? It may surprise you to think you know someone. Or maybe you think you are the only one? In truth, it is an understatement. Statistically speaking, we all know a lot of “someones,” but we tend to get a bit squirmy and start looking for somewhere to run off to when the subject of domestic violence comes up. I like to say I can clear a room with one mention of what I do on a daily basis as a domestic violence advocate. Sometimes, I even want to run out of the room!
However, the harsh reality is that one in three women and one in four men are affected by domestic violence. So, we all do know a lot of “someones,” even if we can’t pinpoint which “someones” in our communities, neighborhoods, places of worship, or workplaces are current victims or survivors. It is profoundly unsettling to think of the level of betrayal required to be consistently cruel to your partner—the one who should have your back.
In a society that values self-made success stories and shells out advice around pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, we want to believe we can avoid being a victim. It is easy to start questioning why someone chose their partner or even doubt their sincerity when a victim doesn’t immediately leave the relationship. Understanding the intricate dynamics between a victim and their abuser, as well as the level of confusion and danger faced by an abused spouse, can be incredibly challenging without the right training or firsthand experience.
Most faith leaders don’t feel equipped to counsel a victim of domestic violence (78%, according to one survey.) Yet, for religious people, that may be the first place they turn. So, how do we respond to this critical health issue as people of faith? Well, first, we acknowledge it, and then we must educate ourselves.
The NC Interfaith Alliance Against Domestic Violence has been established for just this purpose. We are listening to the needs of our faith communities. Once we learn about these needs, we will start training with help from our domestic violence expert curriculum. You can help by taking a short 5 minutes to fill out our survey:
Finally, if you need immediate assistance, don’t hesitate to call The Hotline. Expert advocates can offer advice whether you are a victim or a victim’s friend, family, or faith leader. 800.799.SAFE (7233)