To the editor:
You may have seen the purple ribbons or posters around town. You may have seen the commercials or Rockdale in Review program on Channel 23, or you may have even read about it in the paper. Like many of you, I keep asking the question, "What does this have to do with me? Family violence is not in my neighborhood."
With little effort, I soon learned that family violence does have a lot to do with me, I discovered that family violence is the No. 1 health risk to women. I now understand why law enforcement, hospitals, businesses, and even my church need to have processes in place to address this issue. If these organizations have taken such measures, then it must be more prevalent in our community than I originally thought.
The one statement that I heard regarding family violence is that it is a "private crime, not a public crime." It is a private crime because no one will come forward for the, victim. I originally thought, "Why doesn't the victim come forward?" Then I learned about the sheer terror in which they are living. I now understand that victims of family violence are literally scared to death to talk to anyone. However, I want these victims of family violence to know that I'm here to help. I want to help; don't you?
Here's what I'm doing, and you can too. Get educated about family violence. Simply visit the www.rockdaleaware.com Web site to discover the dynamics involved in family violence and to obtain information as to how you can help. I have learned that sometimes we have to just be there for those close to us who may be in a difficult situation. More important, we as members of our community have to speak up and out. We cannot let individuals who are mean and abusive continue to get away with this behavior and not say anything. Imagine if we voiced our opinion about cruelty to humans as loud as we do about cruelty to animals.
Family violence is not just her problem, nor is it just the criminal justice system's problem. It is our community's problem. Please join me, in an effort to make an emphatic statement to abusers that family violence is "not in my neighborhood."
April Fallon, MSW
Lead School Social Worker
Rockdale County Public Schools