October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but we spend all year reaching out and asking you to join us in making a pledge of hope to end relationship violence in our communities, families, schools and workplaces. Abuse or violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, economic status or education.
Domestic violence has no boundaries. We are all aware of how relationship violence impacts us as a society. Yet, often it continues as it feeds through silence, which allows it to continue. If we don’t break the cycle of abuse or violence in a home or relationship, the reality could be a dangerous ticking time bomb ready to explode in the hands of an innocent victim. This life-threatening crime of domestic violence continues to affect San Diego County. We experienced the horrific loss of homicides to intimate partner violence, and innocent children have lost their lives too.
No one would argue that this isn’t an ugly subject, and no one wants to talk about how another human being could take the life of another, but we do need to talk about the impacts of domestic violence. One life lost in the hands of an abuser is one too many. In 2011, San Diego County had 24 intimate partner homicides. Taking the number 24, on average, this is one homicide every two weeks.
The purpose of this column, and especially sharing this information, is to make you aware that domestic violence cannot be ignored. As a community, let’s make a commitment to lead by example and teach our children about healthy relationships.
There is help available for victims of abuse. We need to learn the warning signs for those who may be experiencing violence and those who may be witnessing violence or abuse in our homes, schools and workplaces.
As we gathered during the month of October to end domestic violence, we also came together to end breast cancer with walks, rallies and community events offering resources to prevent this serious problem.
As we proudly wear pink, I hope in the days, months and years ahead, we wear purple too. With cancer being invisible until diagnosed, so is the violence and abuse happening in relationships. Let’s shine the light on the silence, and continue our efforts to call attention to what is needed to prevent and stop the violence.
NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN: Tamara Henderson (25), Janice Davis (70), Valerie Marabante (23), Bernabe Villamar (26), Caridad Hendrix (51), Maria Irma Rubio (44), Karina Ditto (38), Deborah Gotell (57), Georgina Pimienta (38), Emily Pimienta (9), Priscilla Pimienta (17), Mary Catherine Alvarez (41), Nicole Anjelica Alvarez (12), Hamid Alvarez (11), Ming Qi (48), Vanessa Knight (46), Rhilee Collier (1), Beverli Rakov (51), Virginia Silva (64), Judy Meier (61), Tonya Welch (43), Kathleen Scharbarth (34), Portia Southern (26), Debra Meltzer (40).