By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO
Independence Day – BBQ’s, vacations, beach, fireworks, sleeping in, friends and family. That is what July 4th conjures up for most of us. But of course, Independence Day means much more than that, it is the day that many Americans pay homage to our country’s founders and our start as a free and independent nation.
Independence Day – safety, security, respect, love, trust, hope, equality and freedom from abuse. Thisis the Independence Day that victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault dream about and work toward making a reality.
Neither type of Independence Day comes easy. Fear, a relentless struggle over barriers put in place by others, finger pointing, inequality and power imbalance existed for both our founders as well as the survivors working hard to move forward.
America did not achieve freedom through the efforts of one individual; it took the will, conviction and hard work of many. Survivors also need that type of team support. They need an entire community to stand up to batterers to say enough. Imagine the power of an entire community saying no to the injustice of gender based violence. Wow! If we all held each and every batterer and rapist accountable for their behavior (reminder – their behavior is illegal) and if we had true equality as a society, everyone would have an Independence Day. Now that would be a cause for some fireworks.
The good news is that we can do this! As insurmountable that it may seem, domestic abuse and sexual assault can be eliminated. We have to work collectively to reach that goal but we can. So on this Independence Day weekend, what step are willing to take to get this effort heated up? Click here for more information on how a bystander can make a difference.