By Marilyn Simon-Gersuk, Executive Director of Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County
Each day, millions of people have been following the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial. It has become a spectacle like reality TV. Domestic violence often thrives in the shadows and gains strength from silence. Therefore, it follows that when we shine the light on its insidious devastation, we can hold perpetrators responsible for the impact of their actions.
Whichever testimonies and evidence you have heard, the real impact of intimate partner abuse has been diminished in the defamation and messaging. This trial has played out in the court of public opinion, and domestic violence survivors everywhere in our county feel the impact. On average, 20 people per MINUTE in the US are physically abused by an intimate partner (National Institute of Health).
We must harness this opportunity for national, state, and local conversations to start to provide increased support to survivors and address root causes to aid prevention.
At Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County (DVS), we work with survivors and their families every day and see firsthand the deep, often generational, trauma caused by domestic abuse. DVS is committed to ending this “silent pandemic” hidden in the shadows in our communities. While the trial and its proceedings plays out in public, it provides a chance to raise awareness and help the thousands of women and men suffering and sometimes dying in Santa Barbara County from domestic abuse each year.
The trial may be larger than life, but the issues it raises around domestic violence, mental and physical abuse and trauma are painfully down to earth and all too common.
You do not need to turn away from what has become the spectacle of this trial, but we ask you to start a conversation so that all people take personal responsibility for promoting zero tolerance for domestic violence.
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