The fact that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month may have quietly faded into the general white noise of modern American culture — but that would be a shame because more light needs to be shined on this terrible crime now than ever before.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first created across the nation in 1987, designed to unite people and various organizations to focus on the problem of domestic violence and raise awareness.

The campaign can count its successes, but more needs to be done. Much more.

Statistics often only tell part of a story but when it comes to domestic violence, the numbers are sobering.

• More than 80 million Americans encounter their first taste of intimate partner violence before they turn 18.

• On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence or stalking.

• 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some type of physical violence by an intimate partner.

The list could go on with the same discouraging set of numbers that show the crime continues to exist and, in some places, prosper. Domestic violence costs too. According to the CDC, the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking exceeds $5.8 billion each year. Who pays? It depends, but rest assured taxpayers — at some point — must open their wallets.

Domestic violence isn’t a problem for some other place or endured by someone else. It happens everywhere and can predominate in small, rural areas where resources for prevention and recovery are either slim or nonexistent.

We hope that by some small measure Domestic Violence Awareness Month will raise awareness. One of the best ways to defeat such a terrible crime is to shine light on it and get as much information out to the public as possible.

Domestic violence should never happen, but when it does it should never be accepted by a community. That can be a difficult sell sometimes, as we jerk away from what can be perceived as personal business, but it is a truism that runs deep.

We all have a responsibility to combat domestic violence. As a community we must never shut our eyes to the impacts of such crimes and rather be determined to ensure we do everything we can to eradicate it.

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