Opinion: Domestic-violence awareness month should begin a conversation

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor is a freshman journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Many might not be aware that the month of October is not only breast-cancer awareness month but also domestic-violence awareness month. I was participating in my daily Instagram scroll session when I came across a compelling story. A young woman by the name of Melissa Dohme was stabbed more than 30 times in her neck and face by ex-boyfriend Robert Lee Burton Jr. and lived. This story, along with others I read, is scary. You think you know people, and then one day, you do not.

Domestic violence is defined as the violence or aggressive behavior within a household. Domestic violence is often stereotyped as being between a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend, but domestic violence can occur between any type of relationship in a household. What if the couple does not live together, but the violence is still prevalent? It might not be labeled domestic violence, but it is abuse nonetheless. Abuse among young adults and teens is often overlooked. At this point in their lives, most young people are dating and not yet married, so things are not seen as “that serious,” but the violence that can take place is serious. According to Loveisrespect.org, young women between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of intimate partner violence. This is not to say young men do not experience abuse. According to Domesticabuseschelter.org, 73 percent of male abusers were abused as children.

This type of abuse or trauma often leads to unhealthy, abusive adult relationships later. Physical and emotional scars do not properly heal and people enter vicious cycles of abuse in multiple relationships because it has become normal. This is a serious problem: How do we break the cycle when dysfunctional becomes functional?

First, we have to raise awareness on the issue. Parents, more than anything, need to be thoroughly informed about the person their young adult is dating. Parents’ awareness of teen abuse and violence in relationships is widely underrated. 81 percent of parents believe teen-dating violence is not an issue or they admit they do not know if it is an issue, according to Loveisrespect.org. Most abuse occurs for several months or years depending on the relationship. Most victims do not want to speak out against their partner. Whether the victim is in denial or fearful of the situation, they are not willing to seek help. The statistics of abuse among our age is terrifying.

Lastly, help those who you know need it. I have friends who have had serious dysfunctional and abusive relationships. It was terrifying to watch someone settle for that behavior. I am sure most of us have a friend who has experienced or is currently experiencing this issue. Encourage them to seek help, and if it is severe, seek help for them. Being intrusive is irrelevant when someone’s safety is at stake. The statistics of abuse among people our age are terrifying.