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    October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 30th, 2022

    October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month is meant to bring attention to the issues of domestic violence. Since my book, Sincerely, Your Gynecologist is coming out next month, I wanted to share an excerpt. The book has letters with statistics that follow. I published this letter in a previous blog, and the response was powerful.

    Domestic Violence

    Dear Nikki,

    This is a difficult letter to write, but I feel I have no choice. First, I want to say that I am truly sorry for your loss. I know that Carmen was a good friend of yours. Her death was tragic, but I encourage you to use this time to pause and consider your current relationship.

    My sister always says that we have been missing the point when we talk to young people. We focus on sex and the use of condoms and when to say no. We focus on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV infection. She says it is important to have sex education, but it is equally important to talk about love education: What does love look like?

    Your friend Carmen thought that she was in love and that her boyfriend loved her. She thought it was love because he did not want her to talk to anyone but him. Occasionally, she could hang out with her girlfriends, but she was not allowed to talk with any guy without his permission. He wanted to be her only one. Oh yes, he bought her a lot of things; I know she never lacked for anything. I know he was always saying how much he loved her. If he could not have her, no one could. He wanted to be her sole provider. When she thought about going to college, he did not understand why, since he was providing everything. He felt that there was nothing college could provide that he could not. He was her main man, and I believe she thought she was his main girl.

    Now look what happened. When she tried to end the relationship, he went crazy. She tried to get a restraining order, and I believe she did, but that did not prevent him from shooting her and then killing himself. Two young lives were wasted. Nikki, is this what love looks like?

    I write because you have told me in the past that your boyfriend has hit you, but he really did not mean to do it. He hit you because he was upset, and you just happened to be around. You tell me he loves you, but every time you ace your exam at school, he is never happy with your accomplishments. When you needed a car to travel to one of your chess tournaments, you could not find him, so you had to forfeit the game. You did not want to take a chance and get into another person’s car for fear that he would think that you were cheating on him. You rarely go out with your girlfriends. He even has you pitted against your parents. Every night he calls you and says he loves you, but is that really love?

    Nikki, for me,  I would rather have a man who never says he loves me but whose actions speak in such a way that the whole world knows that he loves me. I want someone that tries his best to make me the best person that I can be and not feel threatened. I want someone who loves my family as much as he loves his family. I want someone who does not mind me getting compliments from people, because he is confident and knows that he has the best. I want someone who, when he is angry, does not use me as a punching bag but can resolve his issues without violence. I want someone who also understands that we might grow apart for whatever reason and that it is okay.

    I am your physician, not your parent. My primary focus is your physical health, but we both know that there is a powerful connection between physical and emotional health. I want to be clear with you; I am not telling or asking you to break up with your boyfriend. I am asking you to use Carmen’s death as a wakeup call. A call that is asking you the following question: What does love look like?

    You are not due to see me until next year; however, if you need to be seen earlier or just want to talk, please call the office. Take care.

    Sincerely,

    Ngozi Osuagwu, MD, FACOG

    Facts About Domestic Violence1

    Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, mugging, and rapes combined.

    Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

    Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.

    Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

    Every day in the United States, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

    Help for Victims of Domestic Violence2

    Anonymous and confidential help is available 24 hours a day through the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-782-3224 (TTY), Text “START” to 88788; victims who are in immediate danger should call 9-1-1.

    Sources: 1Domestic Violence Statistics. www.domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics (Accessed July 10, 2021); 2National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. www.ncadv.org/get-help (Accessed July 10, 2021).

    2 Responses to “October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      Such timely information. May I also share that, although DV occurs much more often with women being victims, it also happens to men, and in same-sex relationships. Men are often too embarrassed to seek help, and a haven needs to be had for them also. Awareness is being raised regarding same-sex IPV (Intimate Partner Violence). DV is definitely a topic that should be front-and-center with teenagers.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        I agree with you. There is a potential for domestic violence in any relationship. I believe teaching our youth what a healthy relationship looks like is important.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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