Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? It is. And while many groups and organizations are taking the opportunity to help educate communities and spread understanding about the huge problem of domestic violence, one Florida law firm has decided to "celebrate" the issue by sending out a press release with some handy tips for abusers.
In an example of shockingly bad taste, the Orlando, Florida law firm of Moses and Rooth advises men who have been arrested for being the crap out of their partners to basically shut up and lawyer up. Sending out a tip sheet for batterers would be foul on any month, but to send it out during Domestic Violence Awareness Month?! The mind reels.
The advice is stuff that any regular viewer of Law & Order would already know and--naturally--concludes with an admonishment to call a certain Florida law firm.
To counteract this repulsive press release, here are some things you can do to help fight domestic violence and aid survivors of the crime:
• Donate your used cellphones. Even crappy phones can be rejiggered to enable them to dial 911. Last year's model might save someone's life and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence will not only provide you with a free shipping label, they'll send you a receipt so you can write off your donation.
• Don't judge. If you know someone who's being abused, please don't look down on them for not acting as you believe you would. Approximately one in four women will find themselves there. As difficult as it might be, knowing there is a nonjudgmental support system in place will be a huge help to her.
• Nobody is immune from domestic violence. Because the overwhelming number of people victimized by DV are women at the hands of men, I used her/him, wife/husband. But there are plenty of men who are hurt by their female partners and men may have an even harder time admitting they're being victimized than women do. Being gay doesn't mean you're in the clear either as it's estimated that domestic abuse occurs in 30-40% of same-sex and trans relationships.
• It's not just the stereotypical wife with four kids and no outs who gets battered. Unfortunately, teen dating violence is increasingly common. Much like with sex ed, it's important to start talking to your children about boundaries and acceptable behavior at a very young age.
• And finally, if you're out there dating, learn to look for the red flags that might be a "tell" for a future abuser: extreme jealousy, cruelty towards animals, controlling behavior--a fairly comprehensive list can be found here.
Oh, and law firm of Moses and Rooth, you're the reason so many people hate the fuck out of lawyers.