The numbers nearly take your breath away — 2,608 victims of domestic violence in a year’s time, 164 of them prey to sexual assault. Of that 164, half were under the age of 40. All sought shelter at U Care, with the larger portion actually coming from Sampson County.
It’s a harsh reality, a cruel slap-in-the face kind of awakening to those of us who still believe that domestic violence happens somewhere else, to people we don’t know.
The facts are far different. It does happen here; it happens often; and it likely happens down the street, in your neighborhood and perhaps even in your own home.
Burying one’s head in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist neither solves the problem nor helps those who find themselves at the painful end of an angry fist or on the cruel side of a sexual crime.
Domestic violence does exist, and it appears to be growing at an alarming rate around us.
All month month, U Care board members and supporters — as they do all year long — will be attempting to educate all of us who will listen to the disturbing facts relating to violence, putting, a face to the horrible realities that come when someone is verbally, physically, mentally or sexually abused.
It is our hope that residents here will pay attention to the harsh realities so many in our communities must live with every day, understanding that while we may not want this to be our problem, in many ways it is .
There is far too much violence in our midst. And it comes from a variety of sources — sometimes it’s a stranger, but more often than not it’s a spouse, a significant other or even our children.
Violence comes in different forms, too.
There’s sexual violence and domestic violence, and there’s verbal violence and emotional violence.
No matter the kind, it is far too rampant in our society and far to widespread in our own community.
According to statistics, every day in Sampson County at least two people experience some type of violence in their lives. At least being the key words here.
It’s hard to know what brings on the violence. Sometimes it’s economics, sometimes it’s drugs, and sometimes it’s depression heightened to an uncontrollable rage. Oftentimes it can be a deadly combination of all these things.
No matter the cause, the problem exists. And we need to accept the fact that whether we have violence in our own lives or not, it is our problem too.
It’s a societal problem that will take all of us, working together, to stop.
In small ways and large ones, there are ways to make a difference in the lives of people we don’t even know. Working to ebb the fiercely crashing waves of violence won’t be easy, but it can be done.
We must start in our own homes, examine our own lives, and move outward from there.
Violence often comes out of nowhere and retreats just as quickly into the darkness. It happens all around us, and sometimes to us.
It’s not a pretty picture, but a true one, painted on a canvas of reality we’d much rather ignore.
But ignoring it won’t make it go away. Fighting it will.
Let’s work together, watch and care for our neighbors and find a way to be kinder to each other.
Making a difference has to start somewhere. It might as well be with you.