Domestic violence: A social crisis that is out of control, growing exponentially, but largely unreported because of fear, embarrassment, lack of trust and lack of support.
A recent article in the Hermiston Herald highlights the devastation and trauma of violence and sexual abuse within families and relationships. The article is interesting and informative, but disturbing.
Here is a summary of the article:
The Hermiston Domestic Violence Services Center hosted a discussion panel last Friday, including members of law enforcement, victims of domestic violence and students from the alternative high school, the Hermiston Pathfinders.
The attempt to leave a violent or abusive relationship carries the highest risk of death for most victims of domestic violence. A safe and confidential place of shelter is essential for the victim's protection.
In Oregon, the crime of sexual assault is considered to be cruel and unusual punishment, but the penalty does not require the death sentence, no matter how violent or horrible the act. The offender is sick mentally, or addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Sexual assaulters often target young victims, especially those in situations like alternative education, because they are viewed as breaking away from family and least likely to be believed as victims.
Incidents of sexual assault are increasing, but it seems to having nothing to do with a depressed economy. Money has little or no influence on who is the assaulter or who is the victim. One of the panel members, an Oregon State police officer, described it as a society getting sicker.
Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault never fully recover, according to several of the panel members who have experienced such trauma. Memory triggers can bring the emotion and fear back at any time, although counseling can help victims cope.
Forgiveness can help a victim regain a sense of health and security. The assailant can never be forgiven for the assault, but the victim can understand that the offender was under the influence of mental illness or addiction
However, forgiveness does not mean letting the assaulter back into the victim's life.
hermistonherald.com, Hermiston Herald, April 7, 2010