The unfortunate subject of domestic abuse hardly ever receives the attention it deserves. Much of this is because domestic abuse (or any type of abuse, for that matter) is difficult to discuss, even for those who’ve never experienced it firsthand.
Thankfully more and more organizations have started popping up all over the globe with the intention of eliminating domestic abuse entirely. One organization that stands out from the rest is No More. No More has a new and powerful series of ads currently making their rounds on television.
No More’s commercials, properly named “Speechless,” feature celebrities, as well as football players, struggling to speak. Some of them hold back tears. Others simply can’t find the right words to say. Danny Pino, a star on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, even tries to change the subject by saying, “Can someone tell a joke?”
The celebs are “speechless” because each was asked to speak about domestic violence. In the midst of the unscripted commercial, No More’s signature blue text reads, “Domestic violence and sexual assault are hard topics for everyone to talk about.” The silent and often tearful reactions from the commercial participants proves No More’s point. At the very end, the same blue text reads, “Help us start the conversation.”
This is exactly No More’s goal. According to their website, No More strives to “break social stigma, [and] normalize the conversation around domestic violence and sexual assault.” Since domestic abuse threatens victims into a place of submission, it can be hard to reach out for help. Making domestic abuse an open topic in society might inspire victims to take early action.
The issue of domestic abuse is nothing new. In the early days of civilization and society around the world, women were viewed as property and often treated as such. It was okay for husbands to abuse their wives for “correctional purposes,” according to a domestic abuse timeline. England in the late 1500’s even encouraged violence against women and children.
In the United States, one of the first laws against domestic abuse wasn’t passed until 1882 in Maryland. This law made wife-beating punishable by either 40 lashes or a year behind bars. From this point forward, improvements have been made in regards to the legality of domestic abuse, but there’s still a long way to go.
The National Domestic Hotline claims that 1 in 7 men will be victims of abuse in their lifetime. Even more concerning, 1 in 4 women are likely to experience victimization at some point as well. Race, gender, and age no longer matter when it comes to who’s receiving the abuse, although abuse against women and children is (and always has been) more prevalent.
These statistics are staggering and remind us that domestic abuse is still an issue in our society, even hundreds of years later. Organizations like No More can only set the stage for ending it – society must do the rest by coming to terms with the graveness of the issue and doing their part to lower the number of victims. No More suggests we do this by talking about it openly with others, as well as learning the warning signs.
Teenagers, especially, need to learn the warning signs of domestic abuse and understand how to take action. The CDC found that “23% of females and 14% of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.”
Relationships are a vital part of high school. This is also true for friendships, as they shape who we are as people. It’s unfortunate that sometimes high school relationships and friendships expose teens to domestic abuse early on. Typically, that’s found in more intimate and “mature” relationships. On the brighter side, the long-term and short-term effects of abuse can possibly be prevented. With the help of different organizations, teens can develop an understanding of how serious domestic violence is and how they can make a difference in the future, as well as how to cope with abusive situations and reach out for help.
For more information about domestic assault and what can be done to help support the cause, visit thehotline.org.