There is a great op-ed in today’s Tampa Tribune by Casey Gwinn, founder of the San Diego Family Justice Center and the president of the National Family Justice Center Alliance, about how domestic/relationship violence is a very pertinent problem that does not get the attention and action that it needs. He says:
After more than 30 years of the modern domestic violence movement, we still struggle for funding, face budget cuts and reductions when the economy goes bad (though domestic violence rises) and rarely are the primary focus of public policymakers in America.
This is absolutely right on point. Domestic/relationship violence often get sidelined or dismissed as not important enough issues compared to more pressing matters, you know like which female celebrities have gained weight, or which Hollywood starlet is pregnant now. Given the nature of domestic/relationship violence as intimate crimes where the perpetrators and the victims know each other well and may even love each other, they are often perceived as “private matters” that only concern those directly involved. People aren’t supposed to intervene in other people’s “private business”. The point that Gwinn makes is the same point that feminists have been making for years and years now – domestic/relationship violence is something that affects the entire community, not just the victim.
Gwinn goes on to say:
Lately, the news is consumed with coverage of the swine flu, an important public health issue in America. As of Friday, there had been nearly 1,650 confirmed cases in the United States and two deaths.
But there has been little news about the mass killings of more than 60 people across America in the past 50-something days, with men responsible for all the deaths and nearly all the cases involving men with a history of violence against women.
..There have been 13 mass killings in the past two months in the United States. In 12 of the 13, the killer had a history of abuse against women or the cases were directly related to or defined as domestic violence; 22 children and seven police officers were among the dead.
People generally fail to see domestic/relationship violence as a public health issue since it’s just a “private matter” between two people. So it’s easy to keep talking about swine flu and all the lives it’s claimed recently but it’s perceived as irrelevant to discuss the lives that domestic/relationship violence has taken and continues to take.