The Ripple Effect: Domestic Abuse Hurts Our Communities

Children typically learn at an early age that a toy dropped into the bathtub will not only make a splash but cause ripples in the water. Eventually, we observe that a smooth pebble dropped in a still pool of water will cause a ripple that will move further and further away from the stones entry point into the water. As we mature, we become aware that our actions in life cause reactions which can spread far and wide much like the pebble in the pool. As survivors of domestic abuse, our actions and reactions to the world we live in can be complicated. It is important to report domestic violence or suspicion of abuse immediately to a domestic abuse hotline to help minimize the impact domestic abuse can have within our communities.

You may be thinking that domestic violence doesn’t affect your community as a whole; that it’s only the problem of those involved in the abusive situation. This is simply not true. Survivors want nothing more than to maintain their job and provide steady income for themselves and their children. For some, it is difficult, especially if they have sustained physical injuries that they are trying to hide, or if they worry about daycare costs or scheduling court appearances. Co-workers and employers who are sensitive to the issues that surround domestic abuse can provide safe places that will enable survivors to continue to work to end the unhealthy relationship. We all benefit when survivors of domestic violence can live without fear of abuse and financial insecurity.

While community economics are affected by domestic violence, the personal impact of abuse in the community are far more reaching. Adult survivors of abuse often suffer from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is often difficult for survivors to learn to trust and to build new friendships. When communities are educated and involved in prevention of domestic abuse, the options for survivors to find help increases exponentially. As citizens of a community, we all share the responsibility of understanding and responding appropriately to domestic abuse situations.

Children survivors of domestic abuse frequently exhibit emotional and behavioral issues whether they themselves were physical traumatized or they witnessed the abuse of a parent. Many children withdraw from social interactions, which makes it difficult for them to be successful in school. Timely intervention by the school community is crucial to ending domestic violence. Interventions may include individual counseling and/or support groups to help direct students away from a path of self-harm, low self-esteem, and difficulty in establishing future relationships. When school communities are actively involved in educating children, faculty and support staff to identify abuse and respond appropriately, our communities as a whole, begin to heal.

You can help to break the cycle of abuse in our community by reporting your suspicions of domestic violence to a domestic abuse hotline immediately.