Kicking Domestic Violence to the Curb

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic


this article was one i was instructed to write for a media competition online. it is a topic i am very passionate about, so i hope it is respected and enjoyed.

Submitted: December 01, 2017

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Submitted: December 01, 2017

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Valdosta, Ga., like many communities across the nation, frequently confronts the sensitive issue of domestic violence. Many people around the globe are affected by this issue. 

There is a stark dichotomy between men and women affected by domestic violence. Eighty-five percent of domestic abuse victims are women, and only fifteen percent are men. Men, ranging from toddlers to teens, cannot be left out because of these statistics. They can be just as emotionally and physically affected as women. 

Over 4,774,000 women nationally are affected by domestic violence and abuse every year and over 10,000,000 children nationally are exposed to it within or outside of their homes every year, according to huffingtonpost.com. Children of abuse are often told by the abuser that it is their fault, which can cause significant emotional damage. Abused children blame themselves and wonder what they could have done to avoid being abused. The abuser is wrong, no matter how many times they tell the child otherwise.

In Ga. alone, 29,779 women were served by Georgia domestic violence services in 2013, according to ncadv.org. Twenty-seven counties in Ga. have no access to domestic violence services, and twenty-six have very limited access. Domestic violence and child abuse are both things that feed heavily into the Valdosta court system. 

Based on local 911 calls, crime reports, and school/teacher reports, domestic violence and child abuse go hand in hand and are very prevalent in this community. Fortunately, the city of Valdosta does offer help to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

A sophomore at Lowndes High, who wishes to remain anonymous, has felt the effects of domestic abuse as a child. She, her brother and mother were emotionally and physically abused, leading to counseling and no contact with her biological father. 

The Haven, which does not expose its location to anyone, is a nonprofit, safe place for abused women to obtain shelter and services 24 hours a day. The goal of The Haven is to provide victims with the necessary information, resources, support, a protected head start, and supportive follow up to complete the transition out of a violent lifestyle into successful, independent living, according to valdostahaven.org. 

Another safe place, primarily for children, is called The Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County. The CAC is a community resource center created to minimize the trauma of child victims of abuse by responding to their immediate and long-term needs in a child-friendly, safe environment, according to caclowndes.org. The CAC counsels children and provides clinical services where the child can feel safe instead of being traumatized in a courtroom. 

“The numbers at both the Children’s Advocacy Center and The Haven continue to grow. From an economic standpoint, that puts a hardship on our community because those services have to be funded to a greater extent than they were before,” said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County Public Information Officer.

A majority of abusers were abused as children, so the only way to break that cycle of child abuse is to make sure that children have the counseling and support that they need to get through the emotional struggles they are experiencing. 

“Since being abused, I was affected in tremendous ways. I am a stronger person because of getting out of the situation and being counseled. I have found ways to cope with my emotional issues, and have forgiven my father,” said the anonymous sophomore.  

A difficult part of helping the victims of domestic violence and abuse in the community is many are afraid or even embarrassed to talk about being abused. Victims of abuse or domestic violence should know one thing: Nothing will change if help is not pursued. The community encourages people to not only seek help but find a support system, such as The Haven or The CAC.

“The first step in healing any problem is admitting that the problem exists. It is a very hard thing to admit, but I think that we have a great faith-based support system here in our community that is continuing to reach out and provide support and assistance for these programs and people,” said Dukes. 

The Haven and The CAC are funded by private organizations. However, they should be funded by the abusers of child abuse victims and domestic violence cases. None of the taxpayer money in Valdosta goes towards these nonprofit organizations. A solution to the funding problems of these organizations would be to either get taxpayers to provide funding for these organizations, or force offenders to pay fines to support these centers. 

Valdosta, Ga. could serve as a model to other communities regarding how to address the epidemic of domestic violence. It is time to take a stand and tell domestic violence to stand down. 

 


© Copyright 2018 Hannahbrook. All rights reserved.

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