“I think it’s when you take things personally that you become very active.” —Robert Redford
by Kim Thomas
In the past few weeks, our news (locally and globally) has been filled with tragic reports of violence, of individuals losing their grip on reality and choosing to end the lives of innocent family members, their spouses, their lovers and even shooting at random people on the street, schools or malls.
Seems to me that when Springtime comes, that's when some people snap and resort to violence. Is the violence just as present during the winter and other seasons, but we only hear of it in spring? I know that many who suffer from violence are forced to keep quiet, due to their abuser's control and their financial or familial situations. Perhaps with Spring comes the hope for renewal, and the abuser's need for control is inflamed as the victim gains strength to move on.
Considering all of this, I am reminded of an article I wrote several years ago. It was about an event called "Until the Violence Stops", which was a call to action to all Kentuckians -- through theater, art, spoken word, performance and community events -- to demand an end to violence against women and girls and become an active partner in educating and engaging the community to serve as catalysts for soul searching, discussion, and social change.
This panel also focused on the issue of violence against women as it relates to incarceration of women and included formerly incarcerated women from Kentucky’s correctional institutions as well as advocates, activists, and attorneys who are working to support them. Former Lexington Mayor, Teresa Isaac, moderated the panel, which revealed the connection between women in prison and the violence that often puts them there.
The panel also made a request to then-Governor Ernie Fletcher to grant full pardons to several women who were convicted, but granted early release, by the justice system that failed to consider whether they had acted in self-defense against their abusers, as the law allows. The Parole Board’s thorough review determined that they had been abused and were owed their freedom.
Violence against women is under-reported and crosses all race, class, socio-economic and religious lines. According to Safe Horizon, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women; homicide is the leading cause of death for women on the job; and nearly one third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some time. (www.safehorizon.com).
If you have been the victim of violence and/or abuse, reporting the crime and telling your story is a powerful tool in the fight to end violence against women and girls. There are resources available. There is a 75 percent greater risk of women being killed when they do escape an abusive relationship and women should be cautioned to call the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Hotline first at 800.544.2022 to put together a plan, consider all aspects of safety, and talk with a trained counselor. ■
(for more information, see ACE Weekly August 23, 2007, go to aceweekly.com and click on Cover Story)
pray for peace,