Rachael Ostovich’s decision to leave her husband and speak openly about being a victim of domestic violence takes courage. The 27-year-old UFC fighter has put a face to a crime that often goes unreported and is shrouded in fear and guilt. Her bravery may be seen as a beacon of hope to many others who are suffering in silence.
“Most victims of domestic violence feel alone. They feel like they’re the only person this is happening to. When they see other people speaking up, or they see somebody famous or a celebrity or that has stature or class speaking up, they think, if it can happen to her, than maybe I can admit its happening to me,” explained Nanci Kriedman the CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center.
Kriedman said domestic violence is largely under-reported.
“There’s a lot of embarrassment about being a victim of domestic violence. There’s a lot of judgment about it…People are inclined to keep it a secret until they no longer can,” said Kriedman.
The statistics are sobering.
“We’re dealing with a big epidemic… roughly 50,000 thousand, usually women, annually in Hawaii reach out for some kind of support pertaining to domestic violence…The larger universe of data is that one out of every two people say that some time in the course of their lifetime they have experienced abuse,” explained Kriedman.
Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate.
“It crosses age groups, professional classes, religions, socioeconomic classes, races, ethnicities,” said Kriedman.
The abuse can take many forms, but it isn’t an isolated incident, it’s a pattern of abuse.
“Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that has one partner against another trying to control to control them. That can either be through physical acts of violence, emotional abuse, financial abuse, intimidation, isolation, stalking. It doesn’t look the same for every couple,” explained Kriedman.
When Rachael Ostovich spoke out, she thanked her family and friends for supporting her decision to leave her abusive relationship.
Kriedman said that having a support system is a blessing.
“A support system is a huge gift…If you have a support system, they will help you face your fears, overcome the terror, overcome the barriers, make the difficult decisions, weigh your options, be with you every step of the way,” said Kriedman.
But what happens if you don’t have that kind of support close to you?
“Not everybody is lucky enough to have a support system. But we can be a support system,” said Kriedman.
The Domestic Violence Action Center is there to provide support for those in need.
Call the toll free helpline at 1800-690-6200.