Dear Mr. President,
Domestic violence is a growing issue which affects everyone in every community, from victims to abusers, and from government officials to entire communities. Domestic violence is defined as behaviors used by one person in a intimate relationship to control the other. Now I know what you are thinking; “Domestic violence isn’t a big deal. When do you ever hear about that?” A lot actually. My local community action receives 8-12 domestic violence petitions in just one month! Between 2012 and 2013, domestic violence homicides increased by 16% although the general homicide rates decreased. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the US have reported experiencing some form of domestic violence. Think about that one for a second. The United States alone has a population of about 321,418,820 legal residents. About 50.8% of that population are women and about 49.2% are men. About 54,426,920 women and 39,534,514 men have experienced domestic violence. That adds up to 93,961,434 people. That’s about one third of our population! Also, 12.1% of high school students report domestic violence. Taking into account that not all victims report their experience, that is a lot of young people. Think about these numbers. Is this really what you want representing our country?
Violence and abuse is not something that people do just because they can. Abuse is a learned behavior. No matter what behavior is learned, it is that the abuser is seeking to gain or maintain power of their intimate partner. The abuser also often believes their feelings and needs are priority. The abuser might also have a mental illness including, but not limited to, major depression, bipolar disorder, or dissociative identity disorder. Also, this abuse is not limited to physical abuse. It can take form as economic control, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse or emotional abuse as well. One partner could be embarrassing, humiliating, or putting the other down in front of others. They might try to control what the other might say or do. They could blame you for everything. Threats are also used often, and more often than not, they are not empty threats.
Domestic violence can’t possibly affect anyone outside of the home, can it? Yes, it can. Often a crime victim is unsure of whether their feelings are normal, of how the government or legal system works or if anything can be done.The victim can and will end with scars, whether they are emotional or physical. The victim could end up dead, resulting in the loved ones mourning. The abuser could be imprisoned if they are reported. If not reported, they could move on to another person and abuse them. The lawyers, court systems, bystanders, and society all have to recognize this issue and take action.
One way this issue can be prevented through education about the issue. Educating adolescents about domestic violence, shelters, legal services, social services, support and hotlines is one thing we need to do. My generation needs to learn about this growing issue. I am willing to educate my peers about this. So, Mr. President, I ask you this: Are you ready to take action?