Domestic abuse needs reporting

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The much-publicized instances involving celebrities and star athletes may make the issue seem distant, but it is a daily problem here, too.

Last Wednesday evening, we were once again impressed by the Maui tradition of sign-waving. While it is generally done in support of a political candidate or cause, a sizable group gathered along Kaahumanu Avenue in front of the entrance to University of Hawaii Maui College to remind all of us driving by that domestic violence is still a problem.

It has been decades since authorities on Maui considered domestic violence “a family matter.” There are agencies, including police and Women Helping Women, that stand ready to help victims of domestic violence, but they need to know about it before they can act. Victims are often reluctant to report abuse.

It is important to remember there are sometimes multiple victims from a single instance of domestic violence. Oftentimes, children who witness the physical abuse of a parent are scarred psychologically and need counseling and help to overcome the mental trauma.

Remember, there’s no shame in reporting a relative is the victim of domestic violence.

Once confronted with the fact, many victims are willing to get help. There also are agencies ready to help the abusers overcome the alcohol, drugs and anger that lead to violence.

All of us have a stake in seeing everyone is safe. Tragedies can and must be prevented. The right word to the right official or agency at the right time may be all that is needed to save a life — literally and psychologically.

Those sign-wavers Wednesday want us to take that message to heart right now during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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