Private struggles

Right now we’re in the midst of election madness with tight races on the national and state level and passions starting to bubble over a tad on the local level, too.

But with so many people and ideas competing for our attention right now like so many bright, shiny objects being thrown in front of someone with Attention Deficit Disorder, we have to remember something. The business of the world goes on no matter who wins on Nov. 6. We are united on things far more than we are divided, and it just happens that right now the mood is quite divided, thanks to those looming elections.

That’s natural and to not focus on those differences in some old-fashioned electoral contrasting and comparing would be to completely miss the point of democracy. But we also need to remember that October is not just a time for campaigning. As we all know, or all should know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October is now a month to think pink and not only to celebrate stories of triumph over a vile disease but also to move forward with desperately needed research to beat breast cancer back even further.

What’s getting a little less publicity is that October is also Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. This isn’t surprising. A problem like this still exists in the shadows, which makes it even more an issue. Many people will brave their battles against cancer publicly, enlisting support from friends, family and even strangers. But when the person who is supposed to love you most in the world is also the one harming you, victims do not want the world to know.

That’s why Greenwich is so fortunate to have the vital assistance of the YWCA’s Domestic Abuse Services and a well-trained and responsive Greenwich Police Department. Every year we go over the staggering statistics that in the United States, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. Greenwich is not immune to this, far from it, in fact. In a community where appearance matters so much and we still have the old New England ways of keeping our problems behind closed doors, being the victim of domestic abuse comes with perceived shame.

Not just in October, but every day of every year, the Police Department and the hardworking members of the YWCA’s vital program are offering help, thanks to skilled and trained professionals who know what a complicated issue this is and that it’s not always as simple as packing up a bag and leaving the first time you’re struck. The women, and men, too, who are victims of domestic abuse need to know that they’re not alone and that there is help for them.

Domestic Abuse Awareness Month is there as that reminder. It’s a way for people to know there is anonymous, professional help available. But the need for help won’t stop when the calendar turns to November.

Long after this election is over and we’ve moved onto getting ready for the next one, these very real problems will still be taking place behind the scenes of what appear to be Greenwich’s happiest homes. Between the public battles against cancer and the private ones against an abuser, there are fights beyond the ballot box, and we shouldn’t forget that.

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