Cycle of domestic violence affects millions of young women, men

USA TODAY

Published 6:03 PM EDT Oct 8, 2018

One in three teenagers say they know someone their age who has been hit, punched, choked or otherwise physically hurt by their partner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in three young women will be abused before they reach 25 years old.

Such statistics prompted the domestic violence prevention group Saving Promise to launch a campaign Monday to raise awareness of the effects of the abuse, especially on people in their preteens to their 20s.  

The campaign, Don’t Just Give A Damn, urges people to formally pledge to do something about domestic violence and to donate to research and education. Saving Promise is working with the Harvard school of public health, which has a "Learning Lab" on domestic violence.

Saving Promise was founded by L.Y. Marlow, author of the best-selling book Color Me Butterfly.

“It’s time for all of us to take action to prevent domestic violence – one of the most serious public health issues wreaking havoc on our children, our families, our communities, our health and our economy,” she said. 

Cycle of domestic violence affects millions of young women, men

Marlow says she founded Saving Promise in 2007 after an infant granddaughter became the fifth generation of women in her family to experience domestic violence. The girl, now 11, narrates a new video that highlights the impact of intergenerational abuse. 

Marlow bemoans what she calls a "code of silence" in many communities around domestic violence. There was both abuse and a refusal to talk about it in her low-income African-American family, she says, but also in Susan Carrington's wealthy white family. 

Carrington, of Derwood, Maryland, says she suffered physical abuse for four years before she called police or told family or friends.

"People just don't comprehend domestic violence," she says. "Just tell somebody you trust and don't be embarrassed or ashamed as it can happen to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate."

View the full video and learn more about the Don't Just Give a Damn campaign here.

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