Domestic violence is not usually a very fun subject. I’m happy to say that I actually have some really good things to tell you this month.
Over the years I have watched domestic violence in Tennessee work its way up to No. 4 in the nation for domestic murder; when I started, we were sixth or seventh. I am very pleased to report that we are now No. 9 in the nation for domestic murder. I’m aware that we are still in the top 10 and that is unacceptable, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
I think about conversations that I had with people out in the community 20 or 30 years ago as opposed to the conversations these days, and there is a remarkable difference. People are a lot more educated about domestic violence.
Once upon a time when somebody thought about domestic violence or abusive relationships, they only saw it as physical violence. These days I find that most people recognize it in the earlier stages and understand domestic violence can be very serious without a single raised voice or fist. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. The sooner we recognize these things obviously the sooner we can address them in a good, positive and safe way.
The very fact that you’re reading this makes you part of the solution. You may personally need more knowledge or you may know somebody else that does. I hear many stories on a regular basis about somebody trying to keep their abuse a secret because they felt they would be judged, blamed or misunderstood. For many the turning point was when a coworker, neighbor, family member, a child’s teacher or somebody shared information with them about domestic violence.
Once a woman came to me with a crumpled piece of paper and told me that a waitress had given it to her with her change where she had just eaten lunch. The note was telling her that she understood and wrote some numbers down where she could get help. She was shocked that somebody noticed. She was also very blessed. Her abuser was always telling her that it was all in her head, that she was crazy and that note was an affirmation that it wasn’t all in her head.
There’s another new statistic that just came out. This list might surprise you. It certainly surprised me. I don’t think I would have passed the test and gotten all of them right. As you see, I’m still learning new things every day. From 2016-2019 the top 5 holidays that domestic violence seems to be most prevalent: 1. Easter Sunday, 2. Mother’s Day, 3. New Year’s Eve, 4. St. Patrick’s Day, 5. Independence Day.
Down Town’s Boo-Fest is on this year from 5 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 31. Most everyone downtown is participating as is Main Street Interventions. Madam Intervention will be telling positive futures.
Patti Flores-Pugh is the Founder and Director of Main Street Interventions. For help or to help you can call the following numbers: The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); Women Are Safe’s crisis line 1-800-470-1117; Dickson Area Crisis Line – (615) 740-8329; Main Street Interventions (615) 740-7100; National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).