Maya Angelou stated “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Letter to My Daughter
As we enter Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are confronted with the stark reality that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Furthermore, according to the North Carolina Department for Justice, as many as 2 people died per week in 2013 as a result of domestic violence in North Carolina. And lest we believe that domestic violence is something that doesn’t happen in our own community, locally, REACH of Macon County (a domestic and sexual assault agency whose mission is to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault crimes in Macon and Jackson Counties, through prevention, intervention, and educational services) serves approximately 520 domestic violence victims every year, averaging 27,552 services.
Domestic violence knows no prejudice. It doesn’t care what ethnicity you are, where you fall on the socio-economic ladder, or what position you hold. Certainly, there are mitigating factors that can contribute to certain populations being more at risk for the perpetration of domestic violence; however, no one is immune. Domestic abuse is often a hidden, private hell that victims experience alone, always putting on a face of normalcy when in the company of the living.
You can’t look at someone and check a box: victim or not a victim. Victims and their abusers live in our homes, attend our churches, work alongside us at work. In many respects, this is why domestic abuse is a challenging and complicated issue. When we cannot readily identify the oppressed or the oppressor it leaves us feeling almost hopeless; however, we must cling to the notion that WE are anything BUT hopeless. While we cannot control the events that happen to us, we absolutely can decide not to be reduced by them.
To those experiencing abuse, you are not alone, and we see you. REACH of Macon County is here to support you through your journey of physical, emotional, and psychological healing. We can offer you emergency housing, crisis counseling, safety planning, and wrap around services for job and life skills. Our advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as we know that disclosures or the process of reaching out for help has no certain timeline. REACH provides comprehensive services to male, female and child victims, and all of our services are free and confidential.
Don’t suffer alone or in silence. We see you. We believe you. We are here to support you. We will not be reduced by the behaviors of others, nor will we be defined by those actions.
To seek support, contact REACH of Macon County at 828-369-5544 or search our services online at www.reachofmaconcounty.org .
With the help of REACH of Macon County, the Fontana Regional Library System now has more informational resources on domestic and sexual violence. Check out our display at the Macon County Public Library. The following resources are now available:
How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any – Erik Wecks
Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
Escape Points: A Memoir – Michele Weldon
Surviving Domestic Violence– Elain Weiss
Abused, the Hidden Side of Domestic Violence – Philip Cook
Without a Net – Michelle Kennedy
Ghost Boy – Martin Pistorius
Preventing the Emotional Abuse and Neglect of People with Intellectual Disability – Sally Robinson