As we all know domestic violence is a subject that is still taboo and that is usually not a news worthy story. I was blessed to be asked to be part of a story in the local newspaper. Below is a story that was featured on the front page of the Asbury Park Press Sunday paper. I have also included the link so you can read the story from the source itself
Domestic violence is not as easy to recognize as a punch in the face — and even then it isn’t always so apparent.
Abby, a 36-year-old woman from Monmouth County, knows this well. The Asbury Park Press is withholding Abby’s full name and certain details of her experience for safety purposes.
Abby said she would get beaten by her boyfriend and father of one of her children once a week. Her boyfriend controlled her money, she said, and he would allow her to see her family on his terms. She had no friends and no cell phone. At a holiday party several years ago, with her infant child in her arms, Abby’s boyfriend beat her in front of a group of friends.
But her “a-ha” moment, when she recognized she was in a dangerous situation and should leave for good — she’d left four times before — came when she was pregnant. She had asked her boyfriend to not drink all the juice in the refrigerator. Her boyfriend in turn yelled at her, then punched her in the side of the head repeatedly, she said. She lost hearing in her left ear for two weeks, she said.
The obvious question is: What took her so long to leave?
Abby said that in her situation, with a family and a life together, the abuse and threats “broke me down so bad emotionally.” She doubted her own ability to leave and survive on her own, and worried that her family would be in danger if she ever did.
This is common, experts say. Domestic violence tends to build up over time, and often isn’t recognized by the victim until it has escalated to the point of physical abuse.
“It puts you on your butt,” Abby said. “What’s normal is not normal.”
Domestic violence comes in many forms: not just physical abuse, but sexual, emotional and financial, said Janet Lee, a counselor at 180 Turning Lives Around in Hazlet.
“It’s not just a push, a shove or a hit,” she said. “What it is, is it’s a pattern of behavior that exists over time where the abuser uses a range of abuse to exert power and control over their partner.”
By New Jersey law there are 14 crimes of domestic violence, according to Legal Services of New Jersey. They range from harassment to stalking, lewdness to homicide. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“I think that’s pretty well established across the country how prevalent it is,” Lee said. “At this point, we see it as a public health emergency.”