Saturday, October 13, 2007

RIO GRANDE VALLEY: Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By: Emiliano Diaz de Leon

In 2006, 120 women, including 5 from the Rio Grande Valley were killed in Texas by an intimate partner. For the majority of these women, their deaths were a result of escalating acts of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, it is often only the death of a victim that brings attention to the issue of domestic violence because of the media coverage that it garners. There are many others, however, whose stories do not make it onto the front pages of the newspaper, who are subjected on a daily basis to different forms of abuse.

Every fifteen seconds in the Untied States, a woman is battered by someone who tells her he loves her. Half of all women in this country will experience some form of violence from their partner during their relationship and more than one third are battered repeatedly every year.

The word “domestic” refers to home or family. Domestic violence, therefore, is often seen as something that happens behind closed doors. Some people even believe that it should remain there. Because of the private nature of most domestic violence incidents, the epidemic tends to become almost invisible. It happens every day without notice.

Throughout the month of October, however, there is a national effort to increase public awareness about the realities of domestic violence and encourage individuals to take action by helping to prevent violence before it occurs. Locally, Family Crisis Center will hold a Candlelight Vigil on October 24, 2007 at 6:30PM at TSTC to remember and honor the 120 women who were killed this past year.

By and large, men have historically not been engaged in the issue of preventing violence against women and children. Yet, men can play a key role in setting social norms for other men – whether it be by permitting and perpetrating inappropriate male behavior, or conversely, by promoting more positive attitudes and behavior. We, at the Men’s Resource Center of South Texas, believe men-as fathers, brothers, coaches, teachers, uncles, and mentors –are in a unique position to prevent domestic violence through action and conversation. We invite men of all ages to stand with us as we support both victims and survivors at the Candlelight Vigil on October 24, 2007.

Cesar Chavez once said: “Nonviolence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak…Nonviolence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.” We must all become aware of domestic violence, but more importantly, we must all become involved. Help take a stand against domestic violence. Together, we can win!