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Valentine’s Day and the other 364…

February 14, 2012

I don’t know how true it is in other countries, but in the United States we are big on Valentine’s Day.  You only have to walk in any store by the first of February to witness our commitment to this heart felt day of expressing our love for the important people in our lives.  Aisles and displays of stuffed animals, boxes of candy, flowers, in a million shades of red and pink.  Valentine’s Day is all about love and loving.

So why would anyone want to cast a shadow on this day of love by bringing up domestic violence?  Maybe because no matter how much we love this one day, I want to know about the other 364 days of the year. We have a problem 364 days of the year.  Actually it is such a big problem that it happens on this special day of love too.  We have a serious problem with domestic violence.  We are violent toward those we say we love.  We hurt each other in private, in public, and in front of our children.  We see cuts and bruises and we keep our silence.

The Makers of Memories Foundation have identified:

Top 10 Alarming Facts About How Domestic Violence Impacts Kids
1. 63% of all boys, age 11-20, who commit murder kill the man who was abusing their mother
2. 75% of boys who are present when their mothers are beaten were later identified as having demonstrable behavior problems
3. Children from homes characterized by domestic violence are five to seven times more likely to experience significant psychological problems relative to children in the general population.
4. Domestic violence exposed children are four times more likely to visit the school nurse.
5. More than half of school age children in domestic violence shelters show clinical levels of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
6. Researchers have linked exposure to chronic abuse and violence with lower IQ scores, poorer language skills, decrements in visual-motor integration skills and problems with attention and memory.
7. Cognitive problems associated with exposure to violence and abuse comprises one of the most direct threats to the developmental task of school adaptation and academic achievement.  Read the complete article…

Make this the most loving and significant
Valentine’s Day ever.
Love responsibly.
Find your voice.
Speak out
Against domestic violence.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2012 11:06 pm

    Paulann – A most unusual and timely Valentine. Such sad statistics.
    At 55, I’m in the minority among my closest friends because I didn’t experience domestic violence in my marriage or in my family of origin. How sad is that…
    Thank you for being such a steady light.

    • February 14, 2012 11:26 pm

      Thank you, Debbie. I have seen the devastation related to violence in relationships over and over again in my therapy practice. It is shocking and sad how pervasive this problem is in our culture, and how often people live with abuse, believing that it is “normal” and/or that they deserve it. Being violent toward someone, whether with fists or words, is unacceptable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. February 15, 2012 7:49 am

    I am a survivor of domestic violence and I have been the perp as an alcoholic who was self-centered to the extreme. I leveled verbal blows at anyone brave enough to try to get close to me.

    I know the insidiousness of the violence. I know the joy of escape and the power of recovery. I am blessed to have a life of peace and the opportunity to share my idiocy.

    Congrats for posting a ‘noncomforming’ yet loving post on this day.

    • February 15, 2012 3:47 pm

      Your words sum it up nicely. “The insidiousness of violence.” “The joy of escape.” “The power of recovery.” May it ever be so, that we acknowledge and confront the insidious in order to experience escape and recovery. I am thankful for your peaceful life and your willingness to share your story. Thank you.

  3. February 15, 2012 9:19 am

    Thank you for bringing awareness to such an important issue in our society. I myself was raised in a home with domestic violence. It didn’t last long, and occurred at a very early age for me, however the memories are still there. The statistics don’t lie, it is something that affect children deeply. Again, thank you for posting this. Happy Valentine’s!

    • February 15, 2012 3:52 pm

      it is important that we understand the impact of even a brief, early experience with violence in the one place we should never feel unsafe. In our home with our family. Thank you for you thoughts, and for creating a safe and loving home for your daughter. I hope you both had a happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. February 17, 2012 4:25 pm

    Thank you for this post – the statistics of domestic violence and abuse are astounding and I’m glad more of what happens is coming to light – as a child I was so isolated by the abuse I received – believing no other kids had that experience. At least now there is more knowledge of the facts. I am grateful that I did not continue the abuse I received. My kids grew up with two parents who loved them and they appreciate that now as young adults. The cycle of abuse can be broken. Thanks for sharing this.

    • February 17, 2012 4:41 pm

      Thank you, Heather, for reading and responding to this post. Domestic violence is an “elephant in the livingroom” that we can’t afford to ignore. I agree that abuse isolates, especially children. The path of breaking this cycle begins with the courage to tell the secret, to take a stand against violence, and to call it what it is. Thank you for your courage and for breaking your own family’s cycle.

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