Page 45

SummerJournal2013

Physical & Mental HEALTH JOURNAL Summer 2013 s43 Love is a word filled with power, emotion and limitless possibilities. Love has and continues to inspire some of the greatest song lyrics ever written. Poet and songstress Jill Scott told us that love had her “feeling like the breeze, easy and free and lovely and new.” For years, pop songwriters have told us that love can conquer all. In fact, we are taught at a young age that love is the greatest virtue. It is against this backdrop that we must talk about the B-side of the album of love – the side no one wants to talk about or address. The other side of love that sisters, nieces, cousins, sister-friends and sometimes our Delta sisters experience—the side filled with physical injury, verbal abuse and sometimes death. October 2012 was designated National Domestic Violence Awareness month and marked the 18th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. While tremendous progress has been made, 5.3 million women are still subject to intimate partner violence each year. It is our mentees and our collegiate sorors who are among the most vulnerable with 33 percent of adolescents reporting that they have experienced violence from a dating partner. Victims of abuse still feel tremendous shame, are afraid to tell anyone for fear of being judged. Domestic violence remains one of the most under reported crimes in the nation. Children exposed to violence also suffer along with the victim and boys who witness acts of domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. Intimate partner violence affects all people regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or religion. The great news is that as of Aug. 1, 2012, the Women’s Preventative Care Amendment of the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to provide domestic violence screenings and counseling as a preventive service for women without co-payments, deductibles, or other cost sharing. What steps do we take from here? We can begin by speaking candidly with Delta Academy and GEMS participants to ensure that they know love doesn’t hurt. Town hall meetings are effective in increasing awareness and the availability of resources. We can continue to promote awareness and provide resources to women in our chapters and communities that will assist them with any potential domestic violence issues they may be experiencing. We must have the courage to support survivors of domestic violence. Our active involvement has the potential to change attitudes that sometimes perpetuate the cycle of abuse. President Barack Obama has issued a call to each of us to “renew our efforts to support victims of domestic violence and to realize an America where no one lives in fear, because they feel unsafe in their own home.” Let us support President Obama’s amendment and answer the question, “Does love hurt?” with a resounding “NO” that lets the world know that Delta Sigma Theta is resolved in the fact that abuse of any kind is not love, but a crime. s Does Love Hurt? By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw


SummerJournal2013
To see the actual publication please follow the link above