Naples Daily News – Letter by Linda Oberhaus
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Report domestic violence
Watching Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki’s very public struggle with alleged domestic violence is a testament to the fact that anyone can be a victim of abuse, regardless of age, race and socioeconomic class. Each minute in the United States, nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner. That’s more than 10 million women and men a year.
Most of their stories will never be told and once the violence comes to light, the typical response will be, “Why did they stay?” Domestic violence doesn’t typically happen overnight; it reveals itself over time. Likewise, leaving a volatile relationship is also a process for victims to get out safely. Violence typically escalates when a victim attempts to end the relationship.
Last year in Collier County, five members of our community were murdered by their abusers. They were your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors. These crimes and the hundreds more that go unreported, should not define us, but bring us together.
Instead of asking, “Why does she stay?” we should ask, “Why does he batter?” or, on a larger scale, “Why does society allow battering to continue?” We must change our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding the acceptance of violence in our society.
We applaud Sawicki’s courage to stand up, speak out and seek help. If we cannot end violence in our homes, we will never end violence in our community. If you know someone in need of help, call The Shelter for Abused Women & Children’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 239-775-1101.
Linda Oberhaus, Executive Director
The Shelter for Abused Women & Children