Editor’s note: This column – except for the list of Domestic Violence Month activities – was originally published in The Albany Journal on Sept. 30, 2009.
It’s hard to pinpoint when and why I obtained my absolute disdain for men who abuse women.
Sure, I’ve been around domestic violence, but probably less than the average person, unless you count situations that I’ve witnessed – like this encounter inside a car near a mall entrance yesterday:
“Boy, shut up!” a child said.
“You shut up. You quit hitting that girl. You always hitting that girl!” another boy said.
“You both shut up, or I’m about to hit the both of you!” an adult said.
Sure, it wasn’t the classic case of spousal abuse: Man hits wife; wife goes to hospital; hospital calls police; police investigate; case is resolved, one way or another; man hits wife …” Etcetera, etcetera.
But don’t tell me that when a child is hitting another child in a car, and the adult in the car is threatening to hit at least two of three children in the car, that that’s not domestic violence.
Folks, it’s all around us. The hell that men put women through (yes, men, that’s the way it usually happens) is not just limited to televangelists, sports stars, politicians and police blotter entries. Those poor, poor children that I passed by outside the mall are destined to make the paper someday, too, perhaps just as Jessica Acres did last month when she was stabbed to death, allegedly by her boyfriend, as she held her baby.
Police say the baby wasn’t hurt, but I bet they wouldn’t bet their lives on it. That baby was forever hurt, any way you look at it.
Just the other day, I was commenting to a friend on how much I respected the deceased husband of a widow friend of ours.
“Oh, he was a monster,” my friend said, shockingly, before telling me the story of what a terror my friend was within the confines of his home.
This is Domestic Violence Month. Among the highlights is a beautiful ceremony during which butterflies were released in honor of domestic violence victims. Based on Native American lore, the butterfly’s release symbolizes the “wings of transformation” available to the fortunate victims of spousal abuse.
The following Domestic Violence Month activities are being planned by Liberty House, and deserve our support.
Oct. 1-29 – Flag display in memory of domestic violence victims, Albany Police Department Dawson Road Community Center.
Oct. 3 – Butterfly release, Ray Charles Plaza, noon.
Oct. 5 – Lunch and learn program, “The Criminal Justice System: Serving Victims and Holding Batterers Accountable”, Darton College B-101, noon, $7. Reservation required by Oct. 3.
Oct. 7 – Second annual Pearls and Possibilities Gala, Café 230, $25. Dinner, drinks (beer and wine), dancing, live music, live and silent auctions.
Oct. 13 – Symposium “Dating Violence and Social Networking”, Darton College B-101, 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 15 – Mall display, “Handprint Project Boards,” 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Oct. 19 – Attorney discussion, “Family Law As It Relates to Domestic Violence Victims,” Episcopal Church of Saint John & Saint Mark, 2425 Cherry Laurel Lane, noon. Lunch provided; reservation required by Oct. 17.
Oct. 22 – Mall display, “Empty Seat at the Table”, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Oct. 27 – Candlelight vigil/silent witness walk, “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence”, Veteran’s Park Amphitheater, 7 p.m. Line up for silent walk at 6:45 in the parking lot of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services building, 200 W. Oglethorpe Blvd.
For reservations or information about these events, call Liberty House at 439-7094.
By Kevin Hogencamp