Thursday, October 9, 2008

Safe at Home?

Our homes. They are our own personal headquarters. They are our hubs of activity. They are our buffers to the world outside. But they don’t keep us safe from everything.

This is National Fire Prevention Week. If a fire broke out in your home, would you know what to do? Home fires kill more than 3,400 people each year. That’s like the entire population of the town I grew up in being killed every year. Scary.

There are some easy things you can do to help ensure that you and your family can escape a fire in your home. Smoke detectors are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and can buy you the time you need to get out safely. You need one on each level of your home at a minimum. Put them in hallways outside bedrooms in particular. If you already have them, make sure to put in fresh batteries each year. A lot of people do this in conjunction with the fall time change.

Here are some more tips and fact sheets from the National Fire Protection Association that I hope you’ll read and follow.

Sadly, home is not a safe haven for everyone. For some, it can be the deadliest place on earth. That’s why October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Maggie at Okay.Fine.Dammit. has written an article on domestic violence, interviewing seven female victims. She talks about that article here. (I hope we get to read it someday! ) And there are some pretty amazing comments to that post.

Maggie cites a sobering statistic from the National Institute of Justice: one in every four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Do you know four women? Well, guess what … you probably know one of them. Maybe you are one.

Every nine seconds in the United States a woman is beaten. That statistic gave me a chill. Count to nine – it has happened again. Women aren't the only victims either. An increasing number of men are being abused in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. From a 10-year-old study, more than one-third of domestic violence victims were men.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to happen.

If you’re in a violent relationship, get out. I know how easy that sounds. I also know how easy it’s not. This is the point – the threat of leaving or actually leaving – where many women lose their lives. That’s why it’s important to seek help, both professional and personal. Tell someone close to you what is happening. They need to know. And, you need their help.

There are all kinds of organizations to help you. PLEASE seek them out. Here's a few:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (If you want to HELP, join their Million Voices campaign.)

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Here are some signs and symptoms if you suspect someone may be suffering from domestic abuse. This sentence on that page leaped out at me: Stressful economic times trigger more instances of spousal abuse. That says that right now, more than ever, we need to help others to help themselves.

Check these sites out. This issue may be closer to home than you know.


Vicki said...

I just learned that one of the uglier things about New Zealand is the amount of domestic abuse that happens there. They've started an ad campaign to tell people "it's not ok".

Maggie, Dammit said...

Thank you for writing this.

Katie @ said...

Now you've got me thinking. German homes don't have smoke detectors. Sure the houses aren't made of wood; everything's concrete and brick. But still...

I just started a blog about home. I think I'll look into this topic. Thank you!

Ann said...

So scary, every nine seconds. Great post.

Liz said...

Thank you for calling attention to domestic abuse. It's a subject that's near and dear to my heart and one that is far too often overlooked.

MonkeyGirl said...

Thanks for the reminders. I think it is important to remind the victims that people will understand and there is a much better life out there.

NV said...

V -- It's amazing to me that they would need an ad campaign to make that point.

Maggie -- Glad to do it. Thanks for the prompting.

Katie -- Congratulations on your blog. Wish you'd left a link ... Well, everything IN your house isn't concrete and brick. So even if the frame is left standing, fire can burn through it.

Ann, Liz, MG -- THANKS! Hint: It IS a good topic.

Katie @ said...

Oops! My new blog is, and I completely agree about the INSIDE of our apartment being flammable. My German isn't very good, so I hope the hardware store folks can work with me, because here I go...