THE SILENT SHAME

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Graphic by Stephen Reina
Graphic by Stephen Reina

That could never happen to me.

He didn’t mean it.

He said he’d change, that he wouldn’t do it again.

It was my fault.

Things will get better.

There’s no one who can help me.

These are just some of the words uttered over and over again by victims of domestic violence.

Each year, thousands of people – men and women of all ages and backgrounds – fall victim to abuse at the hands of a loved one.

In this borough alone, more than 5,000 arrests were made last year and 19 people, including innocent children, lost their lives in domestic violence incidents.

“In Queens, this is a disease,” were the words that Queens Borough President Helen Marshall shared just last week when talking about domestic violence.

Every October, this issue is brought to the forefront as the country recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As the nation takes time to examine this problem, The Queens Courier will take a closer look at how it impacts the borough and its residents.

During the next few weeks, the series will educate the community about what domestic violence is, including the many forms it can take and who the victims are, and it will provide readers with information about where they can go for help.

If you think you are a victim of domestic violence, there are many places right here in Queens that you can turn to for help, when you are ready to take that step.

In the series you will meet some women who have survived abuse by a loved one. These brave women shared their stories of moving on and putting their lives back together. We hope that their stories will inspire other victims to come forward to end the cycle of abuse.

Yolanda Jimenez, the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, will explain the city’s continuing efforts to address this issue. We will examine the forms of domestic violence, the psychology of abuse, myths surrounding the issue and look back at recent high-profile cases of domestic violence cases right here in Queens.

This series would not have been possible without the help of the many experts, who agreed to be interviewed, and particularly the assistance and support of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence led by its Communications and Outreach Manager Ruth Villalonga.

Finally, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the courageous victims and survivors who were brave enough to share their own powerful stories. We hope that after you read their tales, you will be inspired to do your part to curtail “this Silent Shame.”

This series was reported and written by reporters Pete Davis and Jessica Lyons and edited by Tonia N. Cimino and Lou Parajos. It was designed by graphic artist Stephen Reina.

More stories in our series on domestic violence:

ABUSE IS NOT JUST PHYSICAL

RECENT HIGH-PROFILE CASES

PHYSICAL ABUSE IS MENTAL TOO

A MOTHER’S BRAVERY

DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

ABUSE CASES ON THE RISE, MORE UNREPORTED