Monday, June 13, 2011

Man Down

One of Rihanna’s recent hit songs is Man Down. The song talks about a situation which apparently got really bad and the singer ending up shooting the man who attacked her. The lyrics go on to say that she has to leave because of her crime and that she realizes she could spend the rest of her life in jail.

Domestic violence comes in all shapes and sizes. It crosses all economic levels, ethnicities, and generations. It is responsible for more than three women being murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. Domestic/Dating violence costs the US $5.8 billion annually in health related costs, with $4.1 billion for victims needing medical and mental health services. It is rare that a woman strikes back.

There are many resources to help women in a domestic violent situation and it is important that the woman get help to prevent further injury to her. Even if there is no immediate danger, being in a violent situation can make a women 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 60 percent more likely to have asthma, and 70 percent more likely to drink heavily than women who have not experienced intimate partner violence.

I worked as a hotline counselor for Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County back in the 80s after I left my own abusive relationship. Many of the women that I spoke to were in far worse situations that I experienced. I spoke to them in the heat of the moment during situations that were terrifying. I was responsible for helping to get these women out and in a safe place so they could make a change. However, many women do not pursue legal action after such incidences because they are more afraid of being alone than they are of their abuser. Women who have lived in an abusive relationship for many years have had their protective network and much of their resources worn away. They are literally prisoners in their own homes; prisoners with a life term and a potential for a horrible death.

There is no excuse for Domestic Violence and if you know someone who is in that kind of a situation you have the power to help. You can help that woman get out or simply donate to a shelter or volunteer to do hotline counseling work. If you are in that situation, I can tell you there is hope. You have choices to make. Even if you have children, there are people and agencies to help get you and yours out to a better place. In Montgomery County you can call Laurel House's office at (610) 277-1860 to find out more. Copy their hotline number down  (800) 642-3150 and keep it handy if you ever need it. You have the power to live a life free of violence.

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