By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Preventing spousal abuse
Placeholder Image
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, first observed in 1987 in recognition of a dark secret underlying this society's existence. Statistics suggest that one-third of women in the United States, at one time or another, have been victims of domestic violence - which is hard to believe given that we are a civilized society. The American Bar Association estimates that between one and four million women "suffer a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period." With those kinds of numbers, it can be considered an epidemic, of sorts.

Domestic violence ends up in physical and emotional pain for the victims. In some instances, the victims die or suffer crippling injuries, brain damage and physical scars. Not only is the victim affected, but domestic violence has a serious economic impact that comes in the form of lost wages, medical costs, expenses associated with law enforcement, the judicial system, jail-related costs, and the list goes on.

This kind of violence crosses all racial and cultural lines. In fact, males are also victims, but it is definitely a male-dominated crime with the number of female offenders constituting 10 times fewer than their male counterparts.

Domestic violence encompasses both the physical and mental aspects of victimology. The obvious signs are physical injuries, but many women exist in a virtual prison, unable to flee their circumstances owing to their dependence on their partners. There are many more reasons why victims do not report domestic violence offenses, but in most instances, they have deluded themselves into thinking that no one can help or that the consequences to family and reputation are too much to bear. Contrarily, there are many public and private institutions, the police included, that can help victims through these difficulties. State laws throughout the nation give special consideration to the domestic violence problem. They provide for rigorous enforcement, as well as mechanisms to treat the entirety of the problem. In other words, the handling of these cases are not limited only to the defendant's prosecution; the victims' physical, emotional, and family needs are also addressed.

In this area, we have highly trained police personnel who recognize domestic violence for the problem that it is. They investigate these cases accordingly and make the appropriate referrals to the district attorney's office, the courts, and social service agencies. The Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus, 577-5980, provides outstanding services for domestic violence victims. The Soroptimist International of Ceres group also takes a keen interest in domestic violence prevention. It does so by providing domestic violence "hotline" phone numbers, which are distributed throughout the community in discreet, women-only locations. They also donate funds to various women's assistance organizations and engage in public awareness-raising activities through the various media.

The human suffering and economic impacts of domestic violence is almost incalculable, but we all know that it is a serious and pervasive problem in this society. It must be stopped, and the abusers given no leniency. I can assure the people of our community that our law enforcement officers take a zero-tolerance stance against those who commit domestic violence. Those who assault or injure their partners will go to jail and face rigorous prosecution. If you are a victim, trust the system and call the police. For the violators, get involved in counseling and do whatever else is necessary to stop the cycle.