Dear Malin Reese,
28 women died from domestic violence in Washington State in 2013. They were victims taken from this world by the worst kind of men. Men who used fists, guns and knives to feel strong, to feel powerful, to feel superior. These men were not strong, powerful or superior. Plain and simple, they were cowards and all deserve the WORST the rest of their lives have to offer. If you take anything from this letter, please take away this; these men don’t deserve an ounce of sympathy and they don’t deserve a second chance.
So why this somber letter now? After all, it is a statistical unlikelihood that women in Washington State will be the victim of a domestic violence fatality. 28 out of nearly 3.5 million women is a minuscule percentage. The problem is that the fatality percentage is just a small sample of a larger problem. Domestic violence against women in the United States is an epidemic.
*One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.*
*An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.*
*85% of domestic violence victims are women.*
I hate writing about this. The fact that there’s a 25% chance you’ll be the victim of domestic violence leaves me feeling physically ill. All we can do as parents is teach you to trust your instincts when it comes to choosing your relationships. If a significant other verbally abuses you to demean or intimidate you, walk away. If a significant other shows signs of a violent temper, walk away. If a significant other uses a controlled substance to consistently alter their personality, walk away. If a significant other ever raises a threatening hand in your direction, walk away. If a significant other strikes you, fight back if you have no other choice. But if you have a choice, don’t walk away. Run as fast as you can from that situation and never go back. You can’t save another person who uses violence as power. There’s no need for you to be a hero or a savior.
Malin, in conclusion, violence of any kind is stupid. This is a letter to warn you that it exists and one day, through no fault of your own, you might be a victim of it. Having said that, don’t live in fear of the possibility of violence because I promise you will live a life surrounded by people who will shield you from it as much as we can. When you get older and you become aware of how prevalent violence is in our society, do your best to not become desensitized to it. One last thing.If a man ever says this to you, “Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong action … we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”, you are well within your right to tell that person to shove it up his ass. And then, just walk away.