Thursday, October 9, 2014
The Scourge of Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I was invited by the director of the YCC Center in Ogden to speak to advocates and stakeholders about the importance of recognizing the impact domestic violence has in our community.
Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment spoke before me and shared some shocking facts. Ogden Police Department responded to over 1,400 domestic violence calls last year. Currently, they are on pace to nearly match that for 2014. After my remarks, we heard a compelling personal story from a survivor of domestic violence.
This brave woman talked about how her boyfriend began to control all aspects of her life and eventually cut her off from communication with her family. He became physically and emotionally abusive. His vices cost him his job and it put both of them homeless on the streets of Las Vegas. They barely survived by foraging in the the city center.
Ultimately, she escaped to Utah and was able to rebuild her life and her self esteem with the help of the staff at Ogden's YCC Center. It was a compelling and emotional story to hear.
Domestic violence is abundant in our society much more than our culture recognizes. We seem to pay attention only when it escalates to the point of irreversible tragedy. I believe we can do better. We need to let those in abusive relationship know that they need not tolerate abusive treatment and that there are safe havens available to help them escape the cycle of violence. The YCC is one such safe haven in Weber County.
Let's take a moment to contemplate the impact that domestic violence has on our community and future generations of kids who witness it in their homes. We need to be willing to reach out to those who are suffering and encourage them to seek help. May we have the courage and wisdom to do so.