The first time domestic violence became a part of my frame of reference was one evening in January when my neighbor was abused by her partner. I was listening to music and folding laundry when I heard three horrifying screams from an apartment nearby. Those screams sent my heart racing and I became overwhelmed by an indescribable fear and helpless concern for what might’ve happened to someone very nearby. My husband called 911 immediately. It took just a few screams for me to be instantly affected by the issue of domestic violence in our city and world.
The next day I began researching domestic violence and was shocked to realize the disproportion between the prevalence of domestic violence and the lack of awareness about domestic violence as an issue in Jacksonville and in our country. I was comforted, however, to also learn about the local shelters and resources provided for families facing domestic violence. I felt a responsibility to act on behalf of those facing domestic violence in my community and around the world.
A few busy months went by and I learned about an opportunity to intern for Hubbard House. I was honored to become a part of the movement to end domestic violence and was certain that interning for Hubbard House would be an experience that would foster my passion for the cause.
My internship has done just that. Since interning with Hubbard House I am convicted that advocating for those facing domestic violence in our city is a responsibility that we all, as the community of Jacksonville, share.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every 9 seconds a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten. Around the world at least one in every three women has been physically or sexually abused in her lifetime, most often by a family member. Up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Every dayin the United States more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
Before hearing those terrified screams coming from my neighbor’s home, I allowed statistical numbers and facts like those listed above to remain far from my personal, daily life. I was living as if the only life I was responsible for was my own. But now, knowing someone who has faced the incredible injustice of domestic violence, I passionately believe that I cannot live that way. I am committing to standing up against domestic violence.
Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights and education advocate once asked, “If not now, then when? If not you, then who?”
As a community, we cannot turn our backs to the hurt and pain our neighbors are facing. Domestic abuse is a daily reality for countless families in our city and neighborhoods today. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or economic income. It is prevalent in our city and it n
eeds to be stopped.
So, Jacksonville, “if not now, then when? If not you, then who?” Answer those fundamental questions. Realize your responsibility to help and care for the community members around you. Let’s put an end to domestic abuse in our city, in our neighborhoods, and in our homes.
Here’s how you can do your part:
- Educate yourself and your family about domestic violence.
- If you know or think you know someone who might be facing domestic violence, let them know that they are cared for and that they are not alone. Hubbard House is here. Call the 24-hour hotline at (904) 354-3114 or 1-800-500-1119.
- Volunteer at a domestic violence shelter or donate to a domestic violence shelter.
For more information, visit www.hubbardhouse.org
I hope you’ll join me in standing up against domestic violence.
-Anonymous, Hubbard House Intern