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September 30, 2019Call it What it is: Domestic Violence
What if we called domestic violence its name every single time? What if each time there was a murder-suicide, a polarizing dispute, or a mass-shooting involving an intimate partner or family member, we said the words domestic violence? What if the over 17,000 reported cases in the Tampa Bay Area were reported on in the media and the words domestic violence graced the headlines?
According to the US Department of Justice, the term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Each time there is a vehicular homicide caused by an intoxicated motorist, our community never shies away from the words “drunk driver.” You see, drunk driving is the cause, and vehicular homicide is the result. When our community talks about the latest murder-suicide, they only reference the result and leave out the cause – Domestic Violence.
Words matter and if we don’t name the violence, we’re choosing to ignore it. By ignoring it, we’re silencing the voices of survivors, and what’s even more, we’re missing the opportunity to give out the critical services and resources provided by certified domestic violence centers across the state.
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