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Bishop Burbidge's Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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In October, we observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a serious, preventable problem that affects 12 million American men, women and children every year. One in four women and one in nine men have been affected by severe domestic violence, which includes physical and sexual violence, psychological aggression and stalking. Countless children have witnessed this violence, which disrupts their development and imposes tremendous suffering on them.

As the Body of Christ, we must stand ready to assist those who are being abused. How can we as Catholics help? First, become aware of the signs of domestic abuse. Work with your parish to make people aware of this problem, and lovingly encourage victims to seek help. Catholic Charities and other Catholic counselors and domestic violence shelters in our Diocese offer victims support and safety. Urge victims to call the Domestic Abuse Hotline. Call 911 if you witness domestic abuse. Counseling is also available for those who abuse others and seek to turn from this path of violence and manipulation.

Finally, and most importantly, if you are a victim of domestic violence, please know you are not alone. Please reach out to a trusted friend or family member, a fellow parishioner or your parish pastor. We are here to help you, and pray with you and for you.

Through the intercession of St. Monica, patron saint of abuse victims, may all who are victims of domestic abuse feel your steady presence, healing and mercy. May our homes be places of safety and security and may the peace of Christ let love prevail in our families now and always.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021