Over at The City Paper, there's a story about the TBI's latest findings on domestic violence in the state.
The good news is that the numbers are headed in the right direction. The number of domestic violence victims has gone down over the past two years and the number of domestic-violence-related homicides has gone down more than 10 percent.
The bad news is that a lot of people in this state are pretty atrocious to the people that they love. A quarter of a million reported incidents over the past two years of rapes, stalkings, assaults, and murders all perpetrated by people who ostensibly love or used to love their victims.
Listen, there is not a single person reading these words who deserves to be afraid of someone they love. We, as a whole society, not just as a state, do a bad job of taking a lot of kinds of domestic violence very seriously. If a woman goes back to a man who abuses her, we throw up our hands and consider her stupid. If a man is being stalked by an ex-girlfriend, we laugh it off, like how dangerous can it really be? Shoot, when boys are raped by their female teachers, a good portion of us act like it's some great conquest — for the child.
But just because society kind of sucks at this and sends all kinds of mixed and terrible messages, it doesn't mean what's happening to you is okay or just what happens or something you deserve. It's not something that you have to tolerate because the Bible or your pastor says it's okay. Jesus himself says, "It would be best for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large stone hung around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to lose his faith." And are we not all someone's little one?
It doesn't make you weak or a failure to ask for help. You're not a bad person betraying your loved one. You're just a human being who is undergoing something bad, who needs some help.
Please don't be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for it. All kinds of people end up in abusive relationships. Rich people, poor people, people who are really successful, people who have never gotten their acts together, men, women — sometimes you're just born into them. It can happen to anyone. Shoot, I even had someone tell me once, "But how can this be happening to me? I'm a feminist." as if feminism were some superpower that prevents you from ever falling in love with someone who will do you wrong.
It's also okay if you can't ask for help right now. Just keep this number—1-800-356-6767—on hand. Or if you can, check out the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic Violence website.
You're not alone.