October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Many of you may have noticed the purple ribbons around town this month because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Contrary to what many understand, domestic violence is far more than physical abuse. Abusers often use emotional, economic, and psychological actions or threats to frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, humiliate, and injure someone. What many of us don’t think about is who it affects. We are all affected. You may be a victim of domestic violence or abuse, but if you are not, it could be your neighbor, coworker, sibling, aunt, uncle, friend, or mother. Abuse affects all of us and does not discriminate.
Sadly, statistics indicate that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life. (ncadv.org)
Based on census and rates of IPV data, an estimated 70,909 women and 53,377 men in Ada County have experienced or will experience some form of physical violence in their lifetime. Given that many instances of domestic violence go unreported, we know these numbers are likely much higher.
I get to meet a lot of people in the community. I am always asked, “how can I help?” You can do many things, but the number one thing I learned from my friend Elizabeth Smart this year is that the most important thing we can do for someone experiencing abuse is to believe them. Can you imagine how hard it would be to tell someone you are being abused? I am always humbled as I see people walk through our door asking for help. That takes a lot of courage, and each of them inspires me.
There are other things you can do as well. Educate yourself. Learn how to recognize domestic abuse and sexual assault. Listen without judgment or blame. Thank them for trusting you to share their experience. Let them know that you are here for them.
Learn more about Faces of Hope by visiting our website at facesofhopevictimcenter.org. Learn about volunteer opportunities at the Center, and you can visit our wishlist with items we need to care for our clients and tell others about Faces of Hope.