Domestic Violence refers to assaults or threats of assault, which occur between people who are either related by blood or marriage or who are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship. Domestic Violence can manifest itself in many forms. It can begin with fear and intimidation from threats of violence or actions and behavior that are aggressive or suggestive of the potential for escalation to more violent behavior. In situations such as this a person may not recognize that they have in fact become a victim of domestic violence. It is often not until an actual assault has been committed that a victim of domestic violence recognizes their position as such. It is this denial that allows an abuser to slowly, but surely erode the confidence of his or her victim and attain the level of control over that person necessary to conceal the unhealthy aspects of their relationship.

Often, when I am interviewing a victim of domestic violence, they reveal their shock and amazement that they have allowed the situation to reach the level that it has. It is easy to declare that one would never find themselves a victim of domestic violence. Many parents look proudly upon their daughter knowing full well that they have given her everything she needs to meet her life as an aggressive educated young woman who can speak for, and support herself; having no need for a man. It is often these same parents who contact my office in utter disbelief that they were unaware that their daughter and grandchildren had been living in an abusive environment right under their noses.

Domestic violence is not limited to any particular cultures, religions, socioeconomic status, gender, education level or age. Domestic violence can and does occur on any street, in any city, in this or any other country. While other forms of violence can be equally despicable, domestic violence is particularly dangerous because it is concealed, not only by the abuser, but by the victim as well. It is for this reason that we as a society must recognize it’s ugly existence and look for it’s victims. Teachers of school aged children should be better trained to recognize the children of homes where domestic violence occurs. Police officers must carefully listen to the statements made by potential victims and determine not only the veracity of the statements, but also whether a person may be hiding a history of abuse. We as individuals must acknowledge the existence of domestic violence, identify the victims with whom we may interact within our own lives and act with kindness and patience towards these individuals help them find the strength to end the cycle of abuse.

Here in Williamson County in Franklin Tennessee we are blessed to have a wonderful organization that serves our local victims of domestic violence. Bridges of Williamson County offers victims a roof over their heads and will take in the children as well. If a pet is involved, arrangements can be made with a local veterinarian to temporarily board the animal. Located in Franklin, TN they are available to residents of Brentwood, Fairview, Spring Hill, Nolensville, College Grove and all other communities within county. They offer counseling to the victims and help them recognize the cycle of abuse and educate them on rebuilding their confidence and self respect that is often eroded by the domestic violence. Bridges may be reached at (615)-599-5777. Be safe and God Bless!

By John Milazo