"You're a writer? Wow. I've always wanted to tell my story."
"You should tell tell it," I said. "Everyone needs to hear the stories of domestic violence to help generate more awareness and encourage prevention."
She nodded. "You're right. They do."
That's part of a conversation I had with a woman who works for the Walnut Avenue Women's Center where I've started volunteering. We were picking up donated supplies for families in need.
I'm shared my family's story more than once and will keep sharing it. When I told the woman from the center a little about it, she said:
"We definitely need more positive male role models like you."
I smiled. "That's only because I had so many bad ones growing up, but I do the best I can. Once we had our first daughter, that was all she wrote."
But even after all that I've experienced and all that I've researched and know, nothing prepared me for the documentary Telling Amy's Story.
I've read about it, watched the trailers, talked about it with other domestic violence awareness champions -- but I hadn't seen it until today. I finally ordered the DVD that arrived this week (you can also check your local PBS channels for possible airings).
The trailer is below; I may have shared it on this blog before. Whether you've had to deal with domestic violence in your life or not, everyone should watch this movie.
Then talk about it. A lot.
Domestic violence is a serious problem that impacts people at home, in the workplace, and in the community. One of the first steps to end it is to talk about it.
Check out these stats:
- According to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1/4 of all women in the U.S. report that they have experienced domestic violence.
- On average, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day.
- Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
- 1 in 3 women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.
- 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-abused peers.
- 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked, or otherwise physically hurt by his/her partner.
It's also not just about helping the victims post-violence, it's also about understanding why abusers abuse and how to prevent it.
Based on the latest research around emotional intelligence, and the fact that abusers have collectively lower EI than non-abusive folk, that's a place to start -- to ensure empathic awareness is more developed.
Especially when they're children and teenagers (something else I'm going to get more involved with in 2011).
There are tons of great resources on the Telling Amy's Story website that you can download today.
But do see the movie and talk about it.
--Deidri Fishel, the detective who investigated Amy's case and narrates the story.