The New England Patriots and Seat-tle Seahawks kick off in Super Bowl XLIX this afternoon in the culmination of the NFL season. But some of the biggest NFL-related headlines have come off the field, particularly with regard to the issue of domestic violence.
Two NFL stars found themselves on the sidelines this season due to domestic violence allegations — one for punching his then-fiancee in an elevator, the other for whipping his 4-year-old son with a switch.
While the cases involving star players attracted attention, the truth of the matter is that, by and large, domestic violence is an issue we usually don’t want to talk about. Nationwide statistics on domestic violence are appalling. At least 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner according to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
On the Kenai Peninsula, the numbers are even higher: at least 52 percent of women living on the Kenai Peninsula have or will experience domestic violence, according to the 2013 Alaska Victimization Study conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center and the state Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Local law enforcement officials say that in any given week, multiple arrests for domestic violence are not out of the ordinary. While they may make up a small percentage of calls for service, state troopers say domestic violence cases involving serious injury can account for 30 to 40 percent of their workload.
Those watching on Sunday will no doubt be reminded of the issue, as the NFL and No More will continue with their ad campaign during the big game.
But it’s important to remember, whether you’re watching the game or not, that the numbers we’re talking about represent real people. It can be hard to connect a celebrity on the TV screen — no matter how sobering the delivery of the message — with things going on in households in our community.
Locally, programs, such as the LeeShore Center’s Green Dot campaign, that operate under the premise that anyone has the ability to prevent a potentially violent situation, either by calling the police or speaking up, invite the community to become part of the solution.
So enjoy the game. But we hope the message “no more” resonates with you beyond Sunday’s festivities, because it’s a message we all need to hear.