Courage Spotlight – Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a quiet epidemic, hitting 25% of all women, and 7.6 percent of men at some point in their lives.  October is Domestic Violence month, for the millions of men, women and children who live within violent homes every day.

Domestic violence makes up 21% of all violent crimes, and has no respect for age, socioeconomic status, race, or geographic location. Occupation, income level, urban or suburban environment — studies show that none of these factors is an indicator of more or less incidents of domestic abuse. When it comes to racial divide, there is no difference either. According to Good Housekeeping,

“White, Black and Hispanic women all incur about the same rates of violence committed by an intimate partner.”

Acts of domestic violence has long-lasting effects on victims, such as PTSD and depression. Even when there is only one aggressor and one designated victim in the family, each act damages the entire family constellation. One in fifteen children witness domestic violence every year. Most tellingly, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program reports:

“Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship.”

Linda’s mother was one of those women.

Linda Murhasselt is one of the children in Courage. Her father physically and emotionally abused her mother until their divorce.  At nine, Linda lost both parents, her mother to death, her father into prison for the crime. Now twelve, she has forgotten how to trust and can’t forgive anyone, not even herself. She feels responsible for welcoming her father back home, the act that resulted in letting him close enough to attack her mother that last time.

Like Linda, the ten million children exposed to DV yearly become fearful and anxious. They are always on guard, watching and waiting and never feeling truly safe. That’s why she cautions her friend T’Shawn Rodgers against trusting his brother, Lamont. She knows first hand that anyone can pretend they have changed.  She doesn’t want her friend to experience even more pain at the hands of his violent brother. Not when she fears she will never be able to forgive herself.

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