On keeping your hands to yourself

It's a lesson we all learn as we make our way in the world. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't hurt others. Turn the other cheek. Walk away.

Yet 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by their intimate partners each year. And if that number is in the millions, can you imagine how many children have watched their mothers get beaten, hit, choked -- or worse?

I can't get this statistic out of my mind thanks to recent news. There's the revelation that Chris Brown has a history of abusing Rhianna. There's Ryan Jenkins stuffing Jasmine Fiore's body into a suitcase. There's that long and growing line of women who are betrayed and hurt by the men in their lives.

And yet. Where's the public outrage? Where are the women standing up and saying: We will not allow this any longer. People like to talk about Chris Brown. His fame. His money. His age. They speculate what Rhianna did to provoke him. People were captivated by the Ryan Jenkins manhunt ... because he was a reality show contestant. Because VHI cut him a check. They wondered, what did Jasmine do to make him so angry?

I've not heard one news outlet or media report or blog call it by name. These are instances of intimate partner violence ... and they aren't 1 in a million. It's happening every day. It could be happening in your home or in your neighbor's home. It could be happening to your sister, your child's teacher, that nasty wench in the check out line.

It's rampant and it's wrong and yet there's a teachable moment in our faces and no one is using it. So I present you with these facts:

1. If you partner hits you once, he will hit you again.

2. You can get out. Make a plan. Open a separate savings account and squirrel away a little money each week. Ask for help -- you will be amazed how many people step up to support you.

3. Your children are watching -- and what you allow them to see and experience has lasting repercussions.

Consider this: Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. And what happens to the little girls? More than likely, they become adults who enter into abusive relationships.

Imagine the impact if everyone took a minute every day to educate the women in their lives about partner abuse -- and encourage them to break that cycle.

This is my minute. My plea. Women of the world: You are worth so much more. Your children are worth so much more. Start the process of leaving today. And if you need help, ask for it. I, like so many others, am here for you.


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