Domestic violence feeds on silence. The often-necessary silence of survivors is understandable. But not the silence of the community nor the silence of the legal system. Why? Why do we choose to be silent about something that’s criminal?
The word “domestic” is where the silence begins. “Domestic” feels soft. It doesn’t communicate the severity of the abuse committed by perpetrators. Worse, it has a personal feel to it, connected as it is to the idea of home. Of privacy. And society says, “What happens in the home, stays in the home.” Making violence that is “domestic” seem as if it’s not our business nor our concern. Reality is, the acts of domestic violence that happen in homes in our neighborhoods are criminal acts. And criminal acts are public problems.