As unfortunate as it may seem, domestic violence has been an ongoing problem for years now– and it will continue to be a hot button issue if certain changes are not made to protect the various women that have been hurt, abused, and scarred by partners they’ve often come to know, love and trust. The recent Ray Rice scandal once again brings the topic up, front and center, shedding light on the severity of a situation that has now become common among 1 in every 4 women.
The problem is, so many–or should I say too many– of these cases have been and are still being swept under the rug. Even in this day and age, we still live in a very misogynistic world and it’s become all too easy for men to hide their violent tendencies from outside eyes. Millions of wives, girlfriends, and daughters are silenced as they continue to live with an unnecessary fear of the men in their lives who use violence as a means of power and control.
Appearances can certainly be deceiving. Take the Rice case for example. He, along with his wife Janay are now “born-again Christians” and continue to blame his indecent acts on alcohol use that’s supposedly been put to rest– supposedly being the key word. What’s more is that Rice continues to receive a surprising amount of support and back up from an all-too-silent Janay. Pretty odd, don’t you think?
A couple of days ago, news broke out that ‘Modern Family’ actress Sarah Hyland has also been a victim of abuse by way of ex-boyfriend Matt Prokop, prompting her to file a restraining order against the fellow young actor– who I just happen to have frequently crossed paths with during my time working in film and television. Let me just say this: I would never have guessed that any male acquaintance of mine would be capable of such violence and such hate. This only reinforces the simple fact that appearances are extremely misleading. Like the saying goes, you really cannot judge a [man by his] cover, especially when it comes to cases of domestic violence.
We’ve spoken out about ways to change—and since we’re in Hollywood, none more so than celebrity advocates like Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron, David Schwimmer, etc. Take a look at a powerful PSA Knightley promoted a few years back:
All these viral campaigns have done wonders in addressing ways for women to take strong action against this often-too-shushed-about crime. We’ve come pretty far in terms of raising awareness and inviting men to join us in the fight. We’ve made it loud and clear that women are only half the problem.
There is a need for men to come together as well, and of course, Emma Watson’s recent #HeForShe speech for the UN Conference further highlights how important it is to achieve solidarity among the sexes. It is only by both men and women coming together that clever facades and gender barriers can be permanently broken down. Men who witness domestic violence need–now more than ever– to reach out to their fathers, their brothers, their uncles, and their friends. They must encourage and instigate change among themselves. We must all make it our mission to bravely call out all the wrongdoers, to protect all of the individuals being victimized.
The fight against domestic violence is an uphill battle. But we can all make a difference if we are willing and unafraid to open our eyes, ears, minds and hearts to the various battered women (and men) who are forced everyday to remain silent.