Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Add some purple to October's pink wave

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.

Every October, the world explodes with pink. Store shelves fill with pink products, community organizations and nonprofits hold pink-themed events, and breast cancer awareness seems to be on everyone's mind.

But amidst the sea of pink, there are sprinklings of deep purple that address a different theme for this 31-day period. In addition to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Both of these are important causes that need to be recognized and addressed. Unfortunately, both of these issues are not given the same amount of attention in today's society.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence at some point during her life. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence every year. But the victims are not only adult women. While the majority of domestic violence victims are women - about 73 percent - men and children are also victimized every year. About 30 to 60 percent of those who victimize domestic partners will also abuse children in the household. In addition, boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are twice as likely to become abusers when they grow up.

These facts paint a horrifying picture of the reality of domestic violence in America. This is a psychological cancer that is destroying families and preying on our society every day in the homes of our neighbors, our friends and even our own families. We cannot afford to turn our heads and pretend all is well when a quarter of our society faces abuse and pain every day.

Our own little corner of Texas is not immune from this plague. One has only to read the daily police blotter to see multiple reports of assault by impeding the breathing of a family member. On Oct. 27, 2012, Bennie Ray Dupnik Jr. stabbed his girlfriend, Sandra Ann Rivera, to death and then killed himself in their Victoria apartment. Domestic violence is real, and it is here.

This is an ugly truth that can be hard to face and accept. But we must be willing to accept it and take action to stop and prevent this cycle of victimization. If we do not, we leave those caught in this cycle of false love, manipulation and pain alone. We must be willing to step forward and make a change.

We applaud the community organizations and nonprofits aimed at helping those caught in domestic violence in our community. Thank you to everyone who took part in and helped organize the domestic violence event at the University of Houston-Victoria on Oct. 7. But most of all, we applaud the victims who had the courage to extract themselves from these situations and reach for a better life with real love and hope.

We must continue to offer support to these victims - whether they be men, women or children - and break the cycle of violence in our society. Remember that this month and every day that follows.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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