Hatcher: ‘Domestic violence thrives in silence. It’s time to make some noise.’
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Ragen Hatcher (D-Gary) penned the following op-ed in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2021:
No single word can capture the depth and magnitude of domestic violence.
It's not just hitting or stalking. It's not just committed by husbands or boyfriends. It's not something that can be fixed by an optimistic attitude.
Indiana's domestic violence crisis is as widespread and destructive as any public health crisis. Lake County alone has seen 300 domestic violence cases prosecuted this year, and unfortunately, that number is sure to grow.
This number does not include the crimes that aren't prosecuted or reported.
What can we do to prevent domestic violence?
It starts with defeating the stigma and changing how we as a community view those affected by domestic violence. Who would want to ask for help when they are going to be blamed for the situation? Police officers and prosecutors sometimes turn a blind eye. Statements like “why didn't you leave earlier”, or “that's a marital or private family matter”, or “they'll end up back together”, only perpetuate the problem. Law enforcement must be just as diligent about domestic violence crimes as any other crime.
Emergency housing, transportation and legal representation are three of the most sought-after resources for those fleeing abusive situations. The National Network to End Domestic Violence was unable to meet the needs of 494 Hoosiers. Those 494 Hoosiers sought help in a single day. Domestic violence affects whole communities. Those suffering will have lower performance at work and school. Children who witness domestic violence often become abusers as children and adults.
Acknowledging the domestic violence crisis one month out of the year is not enough to shorten its reach. We must work each and every day to protect Hoosier lives from the threat that is domestic violence. That is why I will once again be offering legislation to address marital violence between spouses and expedite certain legal processes in order to allow those suffering from marital violence to remove themselves from the danger more quickly. It is my hope that this legislation will be the first of many protections that we can offer victims of domestic violence and will serve as an empowerment for those seeking safety
Domestic violence thrives in silence. It's time to make some noise.
If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, text “START” to 88788 or visit thehotline.org for free, confidential support.