Domestic violence is a sickening crime that happens way too often in relationships. Why is it that people who are supposed to be each other’s biggest supporters and lovers turn violent in an instant? Why are so many cases unreported? Why do people–predominantly women–remain silent? On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.

Why does domestic abuse exist?
There is surprisingly little concrete evidence as to why some relationships explode into violence while others do not. Most abusive relationships do not begin in violence. Instead, circumstances develop over time in which one partner uses hostility to assert power over the other. The object is to gain control. Dominance. Power.

What affect does it have on victims?
Not all cases are the same, of course. As for my mother, she could not work for at least a week after the indecent due to her injuries. She did not sleep for days, but when she did, she woke up screaming as a result of horrible nightmares. My mother is 42-years-old, but still sleeps with a nightlight and the door cracked. In addition to a loss of security, she also experienced an outrageous amount of rejection. Once she decided to press charges and the news became public, so-called “friends” and even relatives began to question her decisions. They told her to “consider his future” because sending him to jail could “ruin his life.” You know what? Fuck that. Fuck the idea that mercy should be shown to the man that tried to kill my mother. The same goes to any person who would dare intentionally harm the person that he/she claims to love. That is not love.

Why are so many cases unreported?
In my mother’s case, the police recorded a mere two photos: the shattered beer bottle and the rose petal-covered kitchen. None of her cuts, bruises, or statements against the attacker were recorded. Therefore, when the detective told my mother that there was nothing he could do (due to lack of evidence) my mother became outraged. The situation was eventually sorted out, the additional statements were added to the report, and the officer was supposedly reprimanded for his failure. Why did the police officer omit those devastating details? I have no clue. However, it does make me wonder how many other officers have refused to do their jobs by unrightfully debunking victim’s stories, and therefore possibly depriving them of justice. This atrocity is one reason so many cases are unreported.

Why do victims remain silent?
The other main reason so many cases go unnoticed is because victims never say anything. Since my mother has spoken out, five more women have contacted her with their own horror stories at the hands of this man. One woman had a daughter with him, and abused her in front of their little girl. The woman stayed for the sake of that little girl. She was swept up by the concern for her daughter, and his sweet, poisonous promises of “never again.” The other four remained silent out of pure fear. Fear that he would come back. Fear that he would retaliate. Fear that next time, they would not survive.

How does one escape?
A hell of a lot of courage. Every step of the way, my mom has been faced with setbacks and constant reminders of her worst nightmare. Nonetheless, she continues to fight for justice. The night of the incident, she was finally able to escape to a neighbors house to call the police. While they may have done her wrong for insufficiently completing her report, she still fought. She immediately arranged for the locks to be changed, and for a restraining order to be put into place. Then, she began the grueling process of pressing charges. What if he gets probation? What if he tries to come back? What if he isn’t sentenced at all? What if- God forbid- the court doesn’t believe her story and he gets away with it? In a meeting, the detective eyed my mother in all her 4’10 3/4″ glory, and praised her a million times over for her bravery. Disclaimer: Being a victim of domestic abuse does NOT make you weak!!! To stand up for yourself in this situation is actually one of the most difficult and terrifying things to do. You will face your attacker, vicious nightmares, whispers and rumors, and countless other setbacks, but the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Help can be found. There are resources. You can be saved. In fact, I’ve attached a link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where plenty of resources may be found.

There isn’t no reason abusers should get to enjoy the sunlight, while their victims cower in darkness and fear. With strength, bravery, and love from true friends, justice can be found. Love can still prevail amidst horrible hate. No matter what.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org/resources/

Love & Light,

Jordan Cardell <3