5 million children in the US alone grow up living in homes with violence every year. 5 million children all have something in common that defines their lives for years to come – they’re children of domestic violence.
How is it that there is currently less than 10% awareness among the general population about this social issue?
In chapter 1 of CDV’s upcoming book, we learn a few reasons. Author Brian F. Martin, founder and CEO of CDV, explains, “Children don’t talk about it…They’re afraid that if they say something outside the house they may get into more trouble. Or maybe they are afraid that one of their parents will get locked up and they’ll be taken away into foster care. Or maybe they will put one of their parents in greater peril.”
Brian goes on to explain that the adults who are engaging in the violence don’t talk about it for obvious reasons. There is a lack of discussion among the adults who are partaking in the abuse, as they won’t risk becoming involved with the law. And anyone else who’s aware it may be happening stays silent either because they believe it isn’t their place and would be out of line.
Jeffrey Brenner, M.D., founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, explains that throughout his career, he noticed those who suffered trauma early in life undisputedly showed effects well into their adulthood. Wanting to understand the larger picture, Dr. Brenner beganto discuss his findings comprehensively with his colleagues. No sooner did he say something, he was told, “[…] not to pull up the lid on something you don’t have the time and training to treat, like early life trauma.“
There is no doubt that we as a society are groomed to perpetuate a stigma around speaking openly about childhood domestic violence. Because it seems like a private issue on the surface and nobody is talking about it, many feel shame, isolation, or fear. This prevents those impacted from speaking out to seek help to stop the cycle of violence because they feel they’re betraying their families.
But it does not have to be this way. How can each of us help change that? TALK about it. This is the first step to increasing awareness, which drives change. Building awareness can have a significant impact not only for the emotional well-being of those impacted and our ability to address the issue more effectively as a society, but also on our medical, court, and legal systems, which can help usher in critical change the can transform the odds for these children.
Those who were impacted can finally realize they’re not alone and can be validated as they work to heal and overcome this legacy to reach their full potential.