MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

October 18, 2013

Don’t be a silent witness to abuse

One in four women report being a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Let that sink in for a second. That means the odds are someone you know — your sister, aunt, cousin, mother or friend — is a victim.

And you probably don’t know it, because they don’t talk about it.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Raising awareness can make a difference. But we should make awareness of domestic violence a daily issue, not just one month out of the year.

As Muskogee County Commissioner Gene Wallace wrote on this page last week, Muskogee can join the battle against domestic abuse at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Roxy Theater with a showing of “Telling Amy’s Story,” the documented story of the death of a young mother, Amy McGhee. Her story is very graphic as to the circle of the silence, and violence, and its challenges to a community and its justice system. A panel consisting of community activists will be available for public discussion.

And while domestic violence brutally affects those who are abused, there are even more who it affects.

“It is not a private family issue. It can alter an entire community,” said Sunshine Gross, associate executive director of the Oklahoma Silent Witness Initiative, 2013.

Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their wives than sons of nonviolent parents, according to domesticviolencestatistics.org.

This should not be a silent issue.

If you think someone is a victim of domestic abuse, speak up. Ask them. Talk to them. Be a pillar for them.

But most importantly, help them. They likely are not able to help themselves or able to seek help, and you speaking up could be the difference between life and death.

If you go

WHAT: “Telling Amy’s Story.”

WHEN: 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

WHERE: Roxy Theatre, 220 Okmulgee Ave., Muskogee.

ETC.: A panel will be available for public discussion after the showing of the film.

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