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The impact of domestic violence in our community

October 7, 2012
Mike Tupper, Chief of Police, Marshalltown , Times-Republican

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and is a time for our community to reflect upon the negative impact that domestic violence has, not only upon individual survivors, but our community as a whole.

As a police officer, I have observed the devastating effects that domestic violence has on families. Families are routinely destroyed by the never ending cycles of violence. I have investigated far too many cases involving young children who are victimized themselves or have to tell the stories of the violence they witness between family members.

Family violence continues to occur in our society because we have failed to acknowledge the problem and we continue to fail miserably at addressing this problem as a community issue. We want to believe this is a problem that occurs somewhere else. We have been unwilling to admit that domestic violence is a problem that occurs in our own communities and sometimes in our own homes. We insist that this is a private family issue and as community members we have no right to get involved in the private problems of our neighbors. These failures on our part have only made it harder for abuse survivors to get the help they need.

If we continue to be unwilling to get involved, we are allowing the problems of domestic violence to continue. Because we have not stood up and voiced our opposition to family violence we have in effect perpetuated the problem. Our permissive attitudes lead to other forms of battering, violence and abuse. As a society we have become far too tolerant of violence. Too many times our society stands by and watches as people publicly abuse and threaten others because they look differently, act differently or think differently.

The only way to end these cycles of violence is to stand up now as one community and work together to stop the violence. We must educate our children to treat all people with dignity and respect. We must stop avoiding the problems of family violence and stop blaming the victims as somehow being the cause of domestic abuse. This is a community problem that cannot be tolerated any longer.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a good time to talk with your family, friends and neighbors and discuss what we can do as a community to stop the violence. By working together as one community, we can have an impact on this social problem and we can make a difference, one family at a time. Domestic Violence - NOT IN OUR TOWN.

If you need help getting out of an abusive situation or you know someone who needs help, you can contact the telephone numbers below for help and information.

Marshalltown Police Department 641-754-5725

Domestic Violence Alternatives & Sexual Assault Center 641-753-3513

National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233



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