Local View: Time for us to unite against domestic violence.
Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States.
Every minute, 20 people are physically abused by their intimate partners.
This means that more than 10 million men and women in our country — in just one year — experience domestic violence. While these statistics provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence are staggering, the impact of this action is far greater than the two people directly involved. Domestic violence goes beyond the walls of someone’s home. It’s an issue that can impact a community at any time.
Orlando has seen and experienced how domestic violence impacts our community with Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter, and Markeith Loyd, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and an Orlando police officer. More recently, we’ve seen the impact of domestic violence outside of our community in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, killings by shooter Devin Kelley.
The common element is that the perpetrators were abusers — or in Loyd’s case, his criminal history includes domesticviolence charges.
We as a community can do something about this.
Domestic abuse is a worldwide epidemic that takes the rallying of the entire community to help its residents. If you are one of the fortunate people who has never experienced domestic abuse, you should be aware that it is happening around you every day. With statistics showing that 1-in-3 women and 1-in-4 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, it’s evident that each of us likely knows someone in this situation — or will know someone in the future.
Learn the signs of abuse, keep your eyes open, and listen.
If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact organizations like Harbor House of Central Florida, Help Now Osceola and Safehouse of Seminole. We have the resources to help the abused safely leave a situation while protecting other family members. We have the support of law enforcement if a domestic-violence situation is taking place.
More and more women and men are stepping up and talking about their sexual harassment and assault experiences through the #MeToo campaign. Finally, they can speak out, they can be heard, and they can be taken seriously — and we can do something about it. The movement is inching closer to exposing domestic violence as well, and it shouldn’t take a national incident to do so.
Let’s protect our community, our families, our friends and our children, and take a notolerance stance against this epidemic. It’s time for the community to stand united against this violence.
Let’s protect our community and take a notolerance stance against this epidemic.
My Word: Michelle Sperzel is the CEO of Harbor House of Central Florida.