Domestic violence is one of the dark secrets in American society. No one wants to talk about it, but it’s a frightening reality for many women and men.
When I see some of the pointed comments on social media that people make about all types of topics, I wish they would put domestic violence at the top of their list of things to condemn, because that would help to shine a glaring spotlight on this growing epidemic in our nation and our region. It’s time to rise up against the abusers amongst us, and the YWCA South Hampton Roads is leading the charge.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a time designated to draw attention to this issue and to help connect the victims with resources and services to support them.
The National Center Against Violence shares some very alarming statistics:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. This equates to more than 10 million women and men who are victims of abuse in a one-year period.
- Also, one in three women, and one in four men, have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Domestic violence is not confined to married couples. The individuals may be married, separated or dating. Intimate partner violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. Here are just a few additional statistics on how domestic violence also impacts members of the LGBTQ community:
- From the National Sexual Violence Resource Center: LGBTQ communities experience the same rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault as heterosexual communities, about 1 in 4 people.
- From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: 19 percent of transgender respondents have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a family member because of their transgender identity or gender non-conformity.
- From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 44 percent of lesbian women, 61 percent of bisexual women and 35 percent of heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- From the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs: Multiple studies indicate over 50 percent of transgender people have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.
Would you be surprised, perhaps shocked, to learn that the 24-hour crisis hotline managed by the YWCA South Hampton Roads in collaboration with other community organizations has reported approximately 800 calls every month, I repeat – every month, since the hotline launched in October 2016?
Many of those calls are requesting assistance, referrals or resources related for someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship. That’s an average of 26 calls a day from someone in a crisis situation. This has to stop, and it’s up to us to take a stand and speak out against a destructive behavior pattern that is completely unacceptable in a civilized society.
The YWCA is on a mission and we invite you to join us. Start here. Start now. We owe it to the victims, and to one another.
If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence, help is just a phone call away. The 24-hour Coordinated Crisis Care (CCR) hotline is 757-251-0144. Also, many resources and services are available at the YWCA’s website, www.YWCAcanhelp.com, including a new Live Chat feature for someone reaching out online.