Beth Wheelock is the Public Relations Director for YWCA Rock County, and not an employee of the Gazette. The following views are not necessarily those of Gazette management.
Domestic violence is hard to understand.
Many people believe they'd leave at the first sign of abuse, but it's often not that easy.
Take, for example, Julie Schebig's story. This Madison woman says her estranged husband was controlling, but wasn't physically abusive until he beat her with a hammer and left her for dead. As Julie explains in this video, women don't knowingly enter abusive relationships.
In fact, a new study likens domestic violence to terrorism. The study shows an intriguing parallel between what we traditionally consider terrorism, and what the authors term "everyday terrorism". Survivors live in constant fear that their abuser will find them. "Terrorism" has been used a lot in the wake of the Oak Creek shootings, but it is also applicable in this situation.
So what can we average citizens do?
First, understand the misconceptions surrounding domestic violence. The following information is provided by YWCA Rock County's Legal Advocate.
Misconception #1 – Domestic violence occurs only in the lower class or between minorities. Although they play a role in DV, DV knows no color or socioeconomic status.
Misconception #2 – She must have done something to deserve it. No one ever deserves to be physically hurt.
Misconception #3 – Why doesn’t she just leave? There are plenty of reasons that make it difficult to leave an abusive relationship. A woman might not have access to money, child care or transportation.
Misconception #4 – Once out of a DV relationship, the victim can just move on with her life and pretend it never happened. PTSD is real and doesn’t just happen to soldiers, police officers, or victims of natural disasters. It occurs on many different levels, and can sometimes be triggered later on in life if not diagnosed and treated properly the first time around.
Next, become an advocate.
Becoming an advocate is as simple as clicking "like" on our facebook pages. Then you'll receive our updates and details on upcoming events. Our next event is Walk a Mile in Her Shoes September 14 at the Pontiac Convention Center in Janesville. Rock County men slip into women's shoes and walk a mile to raise awareness of domestic violence in our community. We are recruiting walkers to participate--no high heels required!
Information on Walk a Mile: www.ywcawalkamile.org
If you or someone you care about is in a dangerous situation, call our 24-hour emergency help line at (608) 752-2583.