Jay Ostrich On The Importance of Speaking Up About Domestic Violence

Relationship Violence Is A Community Problem, Says Jay Ostrich

Relationship Violence Is A Community Problem, Says Jay Ostrich

About 35 percent of women and 28 percent of men have experienced stalking, rape, or other forms of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Often victims are silent about the abuse, fearing retaliation and blaming and lacking finances to begin again on their own. Speaking up about the violence is essential, however, because it educates the community, helps identify abusive behavior, and allows others to support the victim. Sharing also can unite victims and survivors, bringing hope to the victim and strength to the survivor, says Jay Ostrich.

“My father abused my mother, but when police were called, they said it was a private matter,” says Jay Ostrich. “That led to four more years of terror. Abuse is not a private matter; it is a community problem.” The National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that 1.3 million women are physically assaulted each year in the United States. “This is an epidemic,” says Jay Ostrich.

Abuse affects victims, children in the home, and the community in several ways, says Jay Ostrich. The victim can experience flashbacks, panic attacks, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders, depression, and chronic pain. Toddlers and infants can react by being fussy and difficult to soothe, having nightmares, and using profanity. Older children may bully others, be unable to complete homework, and show regressive behaviors such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting. Teens may develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors, become depressed or aggressive, and may also engage in self-destructive behaviors, says Jay Ostrich.

Abuse reduces productivity in the workforce. Victims may avoid work so that their abuser cannot find them. Abuse also raises costs for health care, says Jay Ostrich. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that annual health care costs of domestic violence in the United States total $4.1 billion.

Abuse victims often feel that they are alone, and isolation is a significant component of the abuse. When others speak out, they become empowered to speak out as well. This creates a chain reaction that encourages society to listen and positive changes to occur, says Jay Ostrich.

Jay Ostrich is District Director for U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10) and a major in the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the National Guard. He is a combat veteran, having served in the Air Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a combat journalist. He is a graduate of Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Pa., the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Air Force Academy of Military Science. Jay Ostrich also attended the Villanova School of Law.

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