Time To End This Scourge

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If even half of the victims of domestic violence had Holly Crump’s courage, perhaps we would finally end this terrible scourge.

The ebullient health advocate has devoted herself to healing her community — launching programs like Girls on the Run and showing up at countless events and efforts to make this a beloved community. She’s bright, positive, upbeat, optimistic: And a survivor of domestic violence.

She gives the lie to two myths: Victims of domestic violence somehow invite the abuse; and once victimized, they cannot escape.

Her inspirational speech highlighted the march to honor the many victims of domestic violence, staged by the Time Out Shelter, which continues to serve the needs of women and children in Rim Country fleeing violent relationships despite deep cuts in state and federal support.

By many estimates, as many as one in three women will suffer such intimate violence in the course of their lives. Certainly, domestic violence remains one of the most common violent crimes in Rim Country — and the most dangerous type of call for police to answer. If domestic violence calls account for more injuries to well-armed police officers than any other, imagine the terror of the women and children trapped in those relationships.

Domestic violence for the most part remains a men’s problem — since the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators remain male. We will not reduce the shocking incidence of this tragic violence until men see it as weak, pathetic and unmanly. In truth, to turn uncontrolled fury on nearly helpless women and children betrays everything that real men stand for — and aspire to become.

But in the meantime, women will continue to fill the ranks of the marchers — and tell their terrible stories.

Knowing Holly, you would never suspect the trauma and terror she had endured. And if all of the victims of domestic violence, date rape and spousal rape came forward, we do not doubt the stunned surprise at its extent would force a solution.

But too many victims of the vile crime feel responsible — and shamed. Along with sexual crimes, domestic violence bears a terrible stigma, which forces far too many victims to remain silent.

But on Thursday at least, the marchers who strode down Highway 87 rejected the shame and showed the love and support that this community must muster if we are to end this terrible crime.

It’s time to join the march and end the scourge.

It will require courage — but light must always banish darkness.

Just ask Holly.

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