People suffering abuse need our support, help

info@islandpacket.comOctober 17, 2013 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and also happens to be the month I took my son and left my abuser.

Thanks to the services of Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse, I had a safe place to stay. This marks my fourth year living free from abuse and raising my son in an abuse-free household. I credit CODA's counseling and support for enabling me to begin the process forward.

My journey was not easy, but no matter the emotional or physical wounds that linger, it was worth it.

Domestic violence is a crime, not just a family affair. Its effects are felt from the household to relatives and friends to the woman's workplace and to the schools children attend. The longer society views with complacent eyes domestic crimes, the more defeated abused women feel and the more remote their chances to escape their circumstances.

Through organizations that offer services to the battered, as well as awareness education, we can give these silent sufferers hope. A woman can see that there is a support system to surround her and that her abuser will be held accountable.

Local organizations, such as CODA and our police force, can help provide opportunity for lasting change. My son and I are living examples of the difference.

Get involved in any way you can. Educate yourself, donate money or shelter supplies to CODA, volunteer, write your local legislators, support the police departments, and do not stay silent on the subject of domestic violence. Crime is crime.

Joy Herrera

Hilton Head Island

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