Today, advocates of domestic violence survivors unveiled a billboard with the message “Domestic Violence is NEVER a Private Matter. If you need help, call (877) 503-1850.” While directed at San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi for characterizing his DV case as a family affair, this strong message goes far beyond. Some may think that domestic violence only affects the victim, or at most, the children who witness the abuse at home. But, what on surface may seem like a family issue, has devastating monetary and non-monetary effects on our society at large.
For instance, both a DV survivor and an abuser can suffer from employment problems, substance abuse, depression, poverty, homicide, mental health issues, incarceration, and more.
The children of DV survivors can be emotionally and psychologically harmed for the rest of their lives. The emotional disturbance from the abuse they are exposed to during childhood can result in the reenactment of violence during their adolescent and adult years.
The society as a whole suffers monetarily from domestic violence as it increases costs for employers, businesses, medical care, mental health services, criminal justice intervention, etc. Domestic violence also affects us all in many non-monetary ways, i.e., by making us feel less safe at home, in the workplace, at schools, and on the street.
Unless you have known someone who suffered domestic violence, you may have never considered its effect on you and your community. Studies have repeatedly proven, however, that domestic violence has significant impacts on our society at large. Simply put, domestic violence is a PUBLIC matter. We all suffer from its destructive effects, and thus, we all have the right, and the responsibility, to put a stop to it.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact someone that can help. To file for, or receive information on obtaining, a domestic violence restraining order, contact an attorney or various organizations for assistance.