Remember Those Fighting To Be Free of Domestic Violence
As we prepare our families and homes for the upcoming holiday season and take stock of all the blessings we received during the year, we must not forget about the arduous labor that organizations like Serene Harbor do each day to better our community.
While many of us think of October as the time to celebrate Halloween and get in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, Serene Harbor chooses to observe it as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and remember the victims of domestic violence who never got a chance to reach a life free of abuse.
As a nation, we held our breath and prayed during August and September 2021 that Gabrielle Venora Petito (Gabby Petito), from Blue Point, NY, would be found. She was last seen in Wyoming during a four-month cross-country trip with her then fiancé, Brian Laundrie, of Florida. We couldn’t fathom that a tragic ending could be in store for the 21-year-old at the hands of Laundrie.
We watched the pleas of her family asking for information on her location, trying not to make up our minds about what series of events led to a nationwide search for Gabby, and wept in sorrow as we learned about the tragic fate of another life taken too early.
This case sparked public interest due in part to the prolific social media documenting their lifestyle. What the nation learned about this case of a couple on a romantic excursion that went wrong is that domestic violence doesn’t discriminate; it affects every single one of us, no matter our age or gender, and that in the end, if we as a nation don’t step up to put an end to the cycle, we will continue to lose many more valuable lives.
At Serene Harbor, we arm ourselves daily with prevention tools and awareness initiatives to help break the cycle of violence. Yet, one out of every four women in the U.S. has been severely assaulted by an intimate partner. More than a third of domestic violence incidents go unreported, making it more difficult for law enforcement to protect survivors from their abusers.
Many survivors won’t have a happy holiday season; they’ll live in fear of their abuser and pray that the pain ends.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month shouldn’t only be observed in October. Each day, our community must step up to protect those who have lost their voices, those who are staying out of fear, and those who have lost hope. Serene Harbor offers the opportunity for survivors to heal and gather their strength to get back to a life free of abuse.
This holiday season, remember those fighting to be free of domestic abuse. Remember those who were victims of abuse and will not be present to celebrate with us. Remember to teach your family and friends to recognize that love shouldn’t hurt and that we all need to step up to stop the violence.
Learn more at sereneharbor.org
Having grown up in a domestic violence household, Beverly DeMeyer committed her life to better the lives of domestic violence survivors in Brevard County. The president/CEO of Serene Harbor and winner of the 2021 Purple Ribbon Awards, Program/Shelter Executive of the Year knows that the work never stops and is committed to the cause that keeps inspiring others to join in ending the cycle of domestic violence.