Friday, May 13, 2011

Questions About Domestic Violence

So Forever Sunshine is available now at Barnes and Noble and Amazon and I figured it was time to talk a little about the book itself. Though the story is primarily Cher’s, her sister Shelly is both the catalyst to Cher’s story and a tremendous role model for her. We have to give Cher a little bit of credit, for in the beginning she is really just a young college kid that does not realize the tremendous impact a domestic violence situation can bring to her family. She is a little slow to realize what a survivor Shelly is until later in her story. However, she does eventually give her sister credit for the bravery and strength she finds to leave the bad situation and start over again. Sometimes that is much easier said than done.

Why do people not like to discuss domestic violence? It is more common than any of us think, so why isn’t it addressed more frequently? Do an Internet search for Domestic Violence and you’ll come up with multiple pages –from state statistics and laws to national organizations. I’ll post a few links myself. One common thread that comes up is that many incidences of domestic violence are not reported. Oftentimes the man (yes, men can be victims as well) or woman will say nothing at all. Furthermore, family members may know and not intervene. Cher experiences that herself. Her parents prefer to believe that Cher’s report is greatly exaggerated and that Shelly is fine. Why do we do that? Do people really believe it is okay to hurt a loved one or stand by and watch a loved one get hurt because they feel it’s a private situation? How bad would it have to get before someone stepped in?
I have never been in a relationship that has been violent, but even I have seen domestic violence in action. My first experience happened as a child, and it scared me to death. Watching a man I loved and trusted pull his wife from her car by her hair and drag her away left a lasting impression on me. As a child, I never completely trusted him again even though I still loved him. That was terribly confusing. So what about the children who witness this? What if it is a mother or father doing the abusing? What impressions are they leaving on their children?
Little Jacob is an example of that exact question. Brandon tells Cher that he will need counseling, and Shelly is able to provide him with that. But we will not see how Jacob turns out. Will he grow up and feel it is perfectly normal to hit, punch, isolate, kick, control, etc.? Will he ever be able to trust again?
Next time I’ll get more into the statistics of domestic violence, though I must state clearly now that I am primarily an observer and definitely not a counselor. My information comes from my research, and if any readers are in a dangerous situation I highly recommend dialing 911. If you are curious about the reality of domestic violence, please visit Google and do a search. You will find many facts and statistics. Lastly if you are a survivor, I take my hat off to you for finding the strength and having the courage to escape. Good for you! As I stated in my book, you are my heroes! I would love to hear about your stories.
Until next time… happy reading.
For further information, here are a few links: