For florists it’s one of the biggest money-making days along with Mother’s Day and the December holidays. For candy makers it means millions of dollars, even during a recession.
For the wives and children who are victims of violence and abuse, Valentine’s Day is just another day of fear, dread, and anxiety.
It was just a few days into the semester at a local community college where I was teaching a critical thinking class. I had just dismissed the class when an attractive female student stopped by my desk before leaving the room. “I just want to let you know that I’ll have to drop out of school for now,” with a distinct sadness in her voice.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I shared. “Are you moving?”
“Actually, yes. I’m moving into a shelter with my two kids to get away from my husband.”
“Oh,” I could hardly catch my breath.
“He knows my schedule, and so to be safe we must go into hiding for a while, she said.” Her fear was palpable. “I don’t know when I will return,” she said as she slowly turned and left the room.
I never saw her again.
In my 40 years of teaching, she was not the first nor the last of my students who left school as part of their escape from domestic violence.
I never saw any of them again, but I think about them often.
Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love and protect them. When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.
Here’s hoping that you have a great Valentine’s Day full of love and affection with your significant others.
Unfortunately, there are some for whom Valentine’s Day is not a happy day at all.
Troubling concerns associated with Valentine’s Day
1. For the wives and children who are victims of violence, the abuse may escalate on Valentine’s Day.
2. Many cheaters get caught on Valentine’s Day because they show up for both their lovers and spouses too. For this reason, Valentine’s Day can be a banner day for private investigators.
3. Some suspicious lovers set traps for Valentine’s Day.
More troubling concerns associated with cheating and domestic violence
1. If you’re one of those people who asks why women stay in abusive relationships, watch the video above and read this article where Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love , shares her own disturbing story and those of others. She is in an advisory group for DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.
2. In the video above, Steiner shares these chilling statistics:
- One in three women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.
- 500 women and girls a year are killed as victims of domestic violence.
- It’s extremely dangerous to leave an abusive relationship. More than 70% of domestic violence murders occur after the victim has left.
3. Out of marital cheating often grows other endeavors. One writer was so upset at catching her husband cheating on Valentine’s Day that she started a website, www.revengelady.com to give advice on revenge, she says, so that you can bring happiness and humor back to your life.
4. It’s not unusual on dating sites to see applicants admit in their profiles that they are married and just looking for a fling. But how about a website like http://www.ashleymadison.com/ devoted to encouraging cheaters who are looking for affairs.
5. As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men. See the Fact Sheet on Battered Women in Prison.
6. Approximately 1.5 million U.S. high school students will be physically abused by a dating partner this year.
What can you do about all this?
1. Learn to recognize the early signs of abuse. The abuser usually seduces and charms the victim before slowly isolating her from her friends and families.
2. Break the silence. It’s because of our silence that violence continues.
3. Look for ways in your community and online to promote healthy love
4. Educate yourself. Safe Horizons, one of the largest U.S. victims services agencies reports that one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. It is estimated at over 3 million children who witness this violence not only are traumatized, but may grow to believe this is acceptable behavior.
5. Help break the cycle of abuse.
- Donate to and participate in organizations such as one of my favorite charities, Eli Home for Abused and Neglected Children. Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elihome and follow them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/theelihome
- Donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline here.
Don’t let these grim facts and experiences turn you against love and Valentine’s Day.
Instead. . .
- Learn to be your own Valentine. Here are 28 ways.
- Spend the day with loving friends or relatives if you are without a mate this year.
- If you are going to be alone on Valentine’s Day, watch movies that suit you on Netflix, Amazon Prime, AcornTV (British) or get free or low-cost DVDs at your public library.
- Check out an interesting history of Valentine’s Day here
- Call to extend loving thoughts to someone else who will be alone on this day and will be uplifted to hear from you.
- Visit a nursing home to spend some time with those residents who never get visitors.
- Attend religious/spiritual services or community activities.
- Extend random kindness to a stranger today.
- Leave random love notes in a public place you visit today. See Writing Letters Brings Double Happiness.
- Share this post with folks you love on your social media sites.
[This is an update of a post I publish every year during Valentine’s Day week.]
Can you think of other ways we can celebrate love and Valentine’s Day? Leave your ideas in the Comments.