17 October 2010

October is Purple, too!

It's October, so everywhere you look, there are pink ribbons. Even the NFL is sporting pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But there's another color important in October that's often overlooked outside of the people it affects: purple.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's an opportunity for people to raise awareness about the violence that occurs in homes and relationships every day. To remember people who are no longer here because they didn't get out soon enough, and to celebrate those who are speaking out about their own experiences to help save others.

Domestic violence prevention is something that's close to my heart. My best friend is a survivor of domestic violence, as well as some of my family members. They were in physically abusive relationships, and by their strength and the grace of God they're safe now. If I was asked to give money to a cause, domestic violence prevention would be it.

But there's another reason it's such an important issue to me. For three years, I was in an abusive relationship with a man.

I'm not prepared to tell my story here--although anyone who wants to know is welcome to email me and I'll gladly share it with you--but it was a difficult time in my life, and one that I'm still healing from.

The thing about domestic violence is that, most often, it lurks behind closed doors, is hidden under make-up and clothing, or leaves no visible scars at all. It's a poison that spreads to hurt more than just the person being abused. It kills people, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

You may know someone who was--or is--abused and not know it. It's a very scary thing to find out your friend or family member has been hiding something like that, even trying to justify it to him or herself. I did. I thought it was my fault, that I deserved it, even that that was how relationships were supposed to be.

Whether you know someone touched by domestic violence or not, please take some time this month to pray for those who have been affected by it. Pray that those who have survived will stay strong and tell their stories. Pray that those who are still getting hurt will find the strength and support they need to leave. Pray that those who didn't survive are at peace with the Lord, and that their families and friends can be strong enough to speak out now.

Don't let domestic violence be a silent killer. Speak out. Stop the violence.

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