As I move forward with my Presidents Initiative I feel that it is important to recognize and call attention to the children that are directly affected by domestic violence.
Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by fear. This can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma, similar to that experienced by children who are victims of child abuse. Instead of growing up in an emotionally and physically safe, secure, nurturing and predictable environment, these children are forced to worry about the future; they try to predict when it might happen next and try to protect themselves and their siblings. Often getting through each day is the main objective so there is little time left for fun, relaxation or planning for the future.
Children learn that it is acceptable to exert control or relieve stress by using violence, or that violence is linked to expressions of intimacy and affection. This is both heartbreaking and unacceptable.
According to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, each year, 80 of Utah’s children will witness their mother being murdered; her attempted murder or they are the first ones to find her after the near lethal assault. That fact is a hard one for me to grasp – let alone a child.
Once again I encourage you to look at the domestic violence resources that are available in your counties. Do you have resources readily available to not only help victims of domestic violence, but also to help the children coming out of these households? If not, it is time to start making the necessary plans to get our communities help.
Domestic violence is a human rights crisis and if we don’t address it we run the risk of losing the next generation. I will not stand by and let that happen; our children are our future. We can and we must do more to break the Cycle of Violence.