Although domestic violence is usually seen as a human rights violation and primarily affects woman worldwide, there has been a lot of information brought forward that shows a direct impact on the economy. There are costs for health care, replacement of damaged property, unemployment benefits, social services, welfare services, criminal justice services, legal services, transportation, housing, education, and more. All of the previously mentioned are needed to respond to domestic violence cases. It affects us all, and often causes victims to stay in an abusive relationship so as not to burden anyone with these costs. When a victim stays in the relationship and hasn’t found a way out you may find them missing days at work due to the abuse. They do not want anyone to see the aftermath of an episode. They may be attempting to leave the relationship, so work days are missed to hide from the abuser. The victim may also miss days of work so as not to cause a scene if the abuser finds them there. There may be doctor appointments and with limited appointment slots may cause them to miss work in order to get her affairs in order. Many times employees may not come forward and say why they need the time off. It could look as if the employee has a bad work ethic which leads to unemployment. You may also find that the children are being kept out of school also due to the abuse. Employers should learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence. If supervisors and managers know what to look for it could help the employee. They will not feel the need to hide why they need the time off if the work environment is supportive of her trying to get out of the relationship. Of course, the employer cannot spend all of its time dealing with these issues, but becoming aware of the needs an abused woman may help keep a good employee that happens to be in a bad situation. If the victim is unemployed, the organizations such as the unemployment office, social services, health care facilities, welfare services, and housing authority should be aware of the services they provide to victims of domestic violence. Letting the victim know that although they are utilizing these services there are ways to become independent of them and move forward. The way to move forward is to teach the victim what they can do to help themselves get ahead. If these organizations make it hard for her and her children to get help or to move away without fear of the abuser finding them we, as a community, are more likely to find the women and children back in the arms of the abuser. We don’t need to make it hard on the victims. We need to find it in our hearts to try to be more understanding and patient. The goal is to keep these abused women employed, and independent, keep the children in school, and to educate ourselves on how to help women in these situations. It is not always easy. You may not always understand. We must strive as a community to get to the bottom of the situation and make a determination of why she stays. It is important that we work diligently to help victims leave before they are taken from us at the hand of the abuser. The Dove Project will remember and honor our Texas victims at the 2012 Candlelight Vigil at Mill Pond Park, October 23rd from 7 to 9 PM. Also continue to keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers for the remainder of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. They must not be forgotten. If you are in need of assistance, have questions, or concerns please contact Nikwai Noble at (325)372-HELP (4357).