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Love & Hate


On Monday December 7th, candles will be lit on streets across central New Jersey for Womanspace’s 19th Annual Communities of Light. This illuminating gesture is to raise awareness with a symbol of hope for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.


According to Huecker and Smock, “In the United States, as many as one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence.” [1] When I was actively working as a trauma and surgical critical care nurse receiving a patient who was barely holding on to her/his/their life and often times beyond recognition was riveting! More shocking was that typically the violence endured was inflicted by the hands of a loved one.


This has me reflecting back to the time I cared for woman who had her affluent husband stand on her to hold her down while he blasted out her pelvis (you get the idea) with his shotgun. This happened after she had obtained a protection order in an attempt to protect herself and her children from his abusive hand. As trauma nurses we also cared for those who inflicted harm, like the time we received a male patient that had received traumatic injuries while his partner fought for his life not to have his throat slashed -he sadly lost this domestic battle.


The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. [2 One in five girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. [3] According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well. [4]


This brings me back to the time a cared for a four year old girl (yes a four year old!) -who had been hit by a truck and upon her admission to the trauma unit her sexual abuse was so blatantly visible there was no doubt in my mind as the tears welled up in my eyes. Try adding this news on top of the already devastating message that had to be delivered to a mother who was about to lose her little girl. When the mother returned months later to thank me for caring for her little girl she told me that I had helped to save her little boy. It had been uncovered that this struggling single mother had put both her daughter and son in the care of her father and uncle while she worked several jobs to make ends meet.


So I can concur with Jackson Katz "...domestic violence and sexual abuse are not just women’s issue but intrinsically men's issues and we need to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change." [5]


Please help illuminate awareness on this plight with us tonight.


All the best, love & light~

Tammy


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[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499891/ (last accessed 07 December 2020)

[2] https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/ (last accessed 07 December 2020)

[3] http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/about/index.html (last accessed 07 December 2020)

[4] https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/194972.pdf (last accessed 07 December 2020)



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