Letter to the editor (notebook)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says one in three women and one in four men have been victims of (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

This is a staggering statistic! There is little else that affects such a large percentage of our population. I would like to share with you a thank you letter that I received from a student that heard my presentation in school:

“Thank you very much for coming and bringing awareness to abusive relationships. I personally haven’t been in a relationship where there was abuse but my mom has. My stepdad would repeatedly bring her down and make her feel like she isn’t doing anything around the house or enough for him, but she does the most she can and tries and tries to make him happy but he never is. He would always point out everything she is doing wrong. One time he tackled her to the ground and she had all these bruises from him. I don’t get to see my bio-dad often enough to have another example of what a healthy relationship looks like. I go home every day to witness an abusive and unhealthy relationship. Thank you for talking about a serious situation that people should be made aware of.”

Is that not a heartbreaking thank you note? I wish I could say that it was an anomaly but it isn’t, much of the feedback I receive includes similar stories. Here’s another one:

“I thought your presentation was good and I can’t really say I learned anything new and I can’t really say it was worthwhile because I was emotionally and physically abused by my mom for 14 years and I already knew about everything you talked about. But for other kids, I can tell they learned a lot.”

Our theme this year is #1Thing. If everyone did #1Thing to end domestic violence, we could change our society. Students like the ones who shared their stories, could grow up knowing what a healthy relationship looks like. You can make a difference in their lives, and in the lives of others by volunteering, making a donation to SVABW, talking about domestic violence with your friends and family, having me come into your work or place of worship to give a presentation, talking to your legislator, etc. What #1Thing are you going to do? Awareness + Action = Social Change.

Share your #1Thing on Fb or Twitter! Check out our web page www.svabw.org.

Stephanie Smith

Community Engagement Coordinator

Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women


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