For florists, Valentine's Day is one of the biggest money-making days along with Mother's Day and the December holidays.
For candy makers, Valentine's Day means millions of dollars, even during a recession.
It was just a few days into the semester at a local community college where I was teaching a critical thinking class. I had just dismissed the class when an attractive female student stopped by my desk before leaving the room. "I just want to let you know that I'll have to drop out of school for now," with a distinct sadness in her voice.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I shared. "Are you moving?"
"Actually, yes. I'm moving into a shelter with my two kids to get away from my husband."
"Oh," I could hardly catch my breath.
"He knows my schedule, and so to be safe we must go into hiding for a while, she said." Her fear was palpable. "I don't know when I will return," she said as she slowly turned and left the room.
I never saw her again.
In my 40 years of teaching, she was not the first nor the last of my students who left school as part of their escape from domestic violence.
I never saw any of them again, but I think about them often.
Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love and protect them. When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.
Here's hoping that you have a great Valentine's Day full of love and affection with your significant others.
1. For the wives and children who are victims of violence, the abuse may escalate on Valentine's Day.
2. Many cheaters get caught on Valentine's Day because they show up for both their lovers and spouses too. For this reason, Valentine's Day can be a banner day for private investigators.
3. Some suspicious lovers even set traps for their partners on Valentine's Day.
1. If you're one of those people who asks why women stay in abusive relationships, watch the video above where Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love , shares her own disturbing story and those of others. Over the years, she has turned her professional experience into advocacy for abused women as a spokeswoman at The Harriet Tubman Center in Minneapolis, and as a board member for The One Love Foundation and DC Volunteer Lawyers Project. Additionally, she offers private, personal dating coaching for men and women of all ages. Contact Leslie directly for more information.
2. In the video above, Steiner shares these chilling statistics:
3. It's not unusual on dating sites to see applicants admit in their profiles that they are married and just looking for a fling. But how about a website devoted to encouraging cheaters who are looking for affairs.
4. As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men. See the Fact Sheet on Battered Women in Prison.
And while domestic violence occurs in about 10% of families overall, that rate doubles, perhaps quadruples, when we look at violence in police families. In two separate national studies, 40% of police officers self-reported that they had used violence against their domestic partners within the last year. 1, 2 http://purpleberets.org/pdf/whenthebatterer_2pager.pdf
1. Learn to recognize the early signs of abuse. The abuser usually seduces and charms the victim before slowly isolating her from her friends and families.
2. Break the silence. It's because of our silence that violence continues.
3. Look for ways in your community and online to promote healthy love
4. Educate yourself. Safe Horizons, one of the largest U.S. victims services agencies, reports that one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. It is estimated at over 3 million children who witness this violence not only are traumatized, but may grow to believe this is acceptable behavior.
5. Help break the cycle of abuse.
Instead. . .
[This is an update of a post I publish every year during Valentine's Day week.]
Can you think of other life-affirming ways we can celebrate love and Valentine's Day?