There’s a scene in Anna Quidlen’s novel Black and Blue, where one woman is explaining: “the children were asleep,” and the other woman responds: “the children are never asleep. They only pretend to be.” The book is about domestic violence and the second woman is spot on right. The children are curled up under the covers, scared….. or they’re on their stomachs with pillows clutched over their heads, trying hard not to hear.
This Sunday, thousands of people in the western Massachusetts town of Northampton will lace up their sneakers for the 12th annual Hot Chocolate Run to benefit the local, long standing Safe Passage, an organization dedicated to providing emergency shelter, counseling, support groups and legal advocacy for domestic violence victims. I’m going to be there with them, in spirit.
While you might assume domestic violence is a man abusing a women, it doesn’t end there. Domestic violence crosses all genders and sexual orientations. And all too often, there are children hovering nearby. Listening. Confused. Sad. Angry. Scared.
Now some obligatory statistics. These are just a few. You can find more, unfortunately.
- Approximately 24 people per minute are raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by an intimate partner (CDC NIPSVS, 2010)
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner (CDC NIPSVS Factsheet, 2010)
- About 7 million American children live in homes with ongoing severe domestic violence, including beatings, burnings, use of weapons, rape and sexual abuse/assault. (DeBoard-Lucas)
- Almost 90% of children in homes with domestic violence witness the violence in some way. Although parents tend to report that their child does not know about the abuse, children are very likely to report knowledge of specific incidents. (Fusco)
- More than ¾ of children exposed to domestic violence were involved in the event. They may have been a victim themselves, physically intervened, sought help (such as contacting 911 or a neighbor), or been physically close to the mother while she was being abused. (Fusco)
Hot Chocolate run —> How to show you’re grateful for your freedom today. And give some kiddoes hope for tomorrow.