“Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender…Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels” (The Hotline). So why does the society around Oakland ignore the fact that domestic violence is happening today? Why isn’t domestic violence brought to attention or discussed in a family? By reading the novel, Leaving by Richard Dry, domestic violence got passed down in families because there isn’t anything breaking the cycle of pain and trauma. This story deeply impacted me because this cycle is occurring in my community. In order to contribute to the solution, I want to write this blog to break the silence and empower survivors. In many ways, society rarely talks about domestic violence because this issue is taboo and individuals are taught that domestic violence should only be spoken about within their family.
Our society doesn’t talk about domestic violence because this issue is taboo. Carlos Hernandez, a teacher at Life Academy High School, was interviewed because he has grown up in Oakland which gives him a unique perspective on domestic violence around Oakland. He replied, “Seen as taboo or something that’s not talked about… and that’s not how it should be.”(Hernandez). Hernandez used those words to show how our society creates an environment where individuals rarely talk about domestic violence because individuals don’t know how significant and substandard the issue is. Not being vocal about domestic violence causes the problem to go overlooked. Also, stated by Abraham Huerta, a student at Life Academy that grew up around domestic violence, remarked, “Since it’s such a big issue that flies under the radar, I believe there has to be more attention brought to it so it’s no longer a problem.”(Huerta). This accentuates that domestic violence isn’t seen as a crucial problem to get the attention of the society. Our society doesn’t talk about domestic violence because the issue isn’t brought up in schools to educate children with. When attention is brought on the issue, the silence that victims face will be broken because that’s when they will feel safe enough to speak up. To make sure the issue is on the radar, schools should start teaching about that issue so that victims can learn that it isn’t ok.
Furthermore, the society doesn’t talk about domestic violence because most individuals don’t know who to talk to or where to get help, therefore, breaking the silence with allies or education would help victims. Many families, or children, that are victims of domestic are taught to not speak of what they experienced and either no one would listen or they don’t know how to resolve the issue because they would also feel ashamed for speaking up about being abused. For example, a witness of domestic violence explained, “Like it’s really challenging for a family that’s been raised a certain way and is used to seeing domestic violence and they don’t really understand how to navigate or how to even go about it because they don’t know how or because of lack of information.”(Hernandez). The keywords in this quote are “raised a certain way”, “don’t really understand”, and “lack of information” because they describe how a victim might feel. Being abused disempowers and degrades a person’s sense of agency and power. This personality tells readers that there are victims out there that need help but don’t know where to get it. If our society wants to spread awareness or to try to stop domestic violence, there needs to be a place where those individuals can talk about it. Therefore to help individuals speak up, they need to find allies or read fiction, Leaving, to learn that it isn’t ok to contribute to the silence. Additionally, in an online article, “Even Though Domestic Violence Is Incredibly Widespread, Most Americans Don’t Talk About It” by Tara Culp-Ressler, she explains, “And when survivors of these crimes try to initiate those conversations, they’re not always well-received. Fifty-eight percent of the victims who told someone about their experience with sexual or domestic violence said that no one made an attempt to help them.”(Culp-Ressler). Even in situations where these victims actually feel safe enough to open up, they don’t even get the help they need. The victims that have been vocal about the issue don’t talk about domestic violence because they are not listened to. If an individual isn’t going to get the help they need when they speak up, there isn’t a chance they will continue to speak up. Preferably, for those victims, the city of Oakland, or any other place, can establish workshops in schools to educate children on what domestic violence is. Maybe then adolescents can educate themselves and know how to help themselves or others.
Some may argue that the society does talk about domestic violence because of the high number of people who face domestic violence. In the article, “Domestic violence: the issue explained” by Sandra Horley, she addressed, “Domestic violence is a complex issue which affects every one of us. With one woman in four physically abused by her partner at some point in her life, the likelihood is we all know someone who lives with the terrifying threat of abuse.”(Horley). This suggests that domestic violence is common because of the likelihood that we know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence. However, even though we know someone who’s been a victim, we aren’t being vocal and liberating that person from domestic violence because most victims aren’t educated about domestic violence.
Our society rarely talks about domestic violence because this issue is taboo and individuals are taught that domestic violence should not be spoken in public or they are afraid to speak up. To make sure domestic violence doesn’t silence the survivors, schools should teach about domestic violence, so that there isn’t lacking information when survivors feel trapped.