This part is tricky — the part of changing rape culture that means understanding that the people we trust can sometimes hurt us. In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want this week’s column to speak the truth. Violence can easily feel, look and sound like love; how do I know this? Because I’ve been there.

For me, domestic violence has always been the violent illustration of a couple in distress on the cover of an informational pamphlet that is passed out in the waiting area of a doctor’s office. Domestic violence is always discussed harshly and violently, with which I completely disagree with. Violence was present during the good days, too. The days with laughs and jokes that would sometimes lead to those violent pamphlet covers. I would find reasons to stay. I would make excuses for violent behavior, and I would have a constant internal conflict because I knew that I didn’t have enough courage to leave.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is not just about the act of violence; it’s about becoming better people who help one another navigate life. Judging our friends and their situations, though we’ve possibly been there before, contributes to these acts of violence. Someone who is enduring a cycle that is hard to break from should never feel alienated or embarrassed; they should feel enabled.

According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “nearly 20 people per minute are abused by a partner in the United States.” This statistic is proven by how hard it is to accept and realize that you or a loved one could be a victim of domestic violence. Believe your loved ones, and know that love is kind.

For my friends

Xoxo,
Big Sis

If someone you know or love is experiencing Domestic Violence, call 1-800-799-7233

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