By Molly Govus
Safe to say, this is a tough topic for some. Although this subject may be one that makes you want to shut down your computer, close your eyes and pretend that the world is a wonderful place. It is vital that we all listen to the facts about domestic violence in order to support those going through it. The awareness of this horrible topic gives those suffering in silence a voice louder than they could ever create themselves – it is, for this reason, that we must buckle down to the facts of domestic violence within the UK.
First of all, we need to establish to statistics. It’s easy to let this pass over our heads but it is integral that we actually think about the data; at the end of the day, these aren’t just numbers. They are the millions and thousands of abuse victims behind them, all of which with individual lives and personalities. The truth is, domestic violence is on the rise and shows no evidence of decreasing. The Office for National Statistics (2018) reveals a five-year-high increase in England and Wales, with 173 people being killed in domestic violence related homicides in the last year. This is an increase of 32 people since 2017. The next bill is expected to be released in November 2019, and we can only hope that the number has significantly decreased. Sources from the Guardian (2019) have pushed the sad truth that ‘without the necessary action to address violence against women and girls, these appalling statistics are unlikely to be reduced.’ This is a fact that can only be rectified with awareness and action; of course, an awareness month every October will raise thought and action within the public eye, but this is something that should be thought about and acted upon every day, not just one month within the year. For victims and survivors, domestic abuse is a painful and ongoing ordeal, not just once a month but every single day, and it those that have a voice that have the responsibility to rectify the issues and speak up for those who cannot.
The ManKind Initiative awareness group focuses on male domestic violence within the UK; in March 2019, the group released 45 key facts on the male victims of domestic and partner abuse based on 16-59-year olds. One of the most prominent facts is that there were a shocking 695,000 male victims of domestic violence in 2017/18. Whilst women have more reported cases of domestic violence, it is important to consider that male-targeted domestic violence often goes unreported due to fears of humiliation and judgement; awareness of the fact that the statistics may not be wholly representative of male victims is integral to understanding the vast range of domestic abuse across the UK.
This particular topic is close to my heart because I am one of the statistics. I’ve been in the middle of such ordeals as a young child and been witness to the terrifying stories. It happens to people like you and me, people who are seemingly ordinary with seemingly mundane lives. Domestic abuse is not a façade or a story to be scared of; it is real, and we all have a responsibility to speak out against it, whether it be Domestic Violence Awareness month or not.