October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Advocates working in the field of domestic violence use this opportunity to educate and raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence. Across the nation there will be rallies and vigils and people wearing purple ribbons to show awareness and support for survivors of domestic violence. This month is an opportunity to bring to the forefront the issue and how we can work together to stop the violence.
Consider the numbers:
One in four women in the United States is a victim of domestic violence. One in four! Twenty-five percent of all women in our country, this is an astounding number.
With an estimated 158 million women in the United States, that is a staggering 39.5 million women each year experiencing domestic violence in their lives. Living with it. Trying to cope with it. Trying to understand it. Trying to change it. Trying to stop it.
And the numbers do not end there.
An average of three women lose their lives every day in our country as a result of domestic violence. Three deaths every day. Three mothers. Three sisters. Three daughters. Three wives. Three girlfriends. Three nieces. Three teachers. Doctors. Administrators. Lawyers. Stay-at-home-moms. Three women lose the fight every day from any and all walks of life because domestic violence does not discriminate. It knows no age. No race or religion. It has no boundaries.
In Missouri alone, there were 40,613 incidents of domestic violence in 2011 and 71 deaths.*
This year marks the 30th anniversary for Hope House. With locations in Lee’s Summit and Independence, we offer a 24 hour hotline, two emergency shelters that offer case management and therapy services, food, clothing and everyday essentials. We provide comprehensive outreach services that include: individual and group counseling, a safe visitation center, court advocacy, a legal program and a hospital based advocacy program.
For 30 years, we have effectively tackled domestic violence and its impact on both adult and child victims. Community support of Hope House has always been strong and we are grateful to our community partners. We rely on that support in order to provide the necessary lifelines we offer. Lifelines that are critical in breaking the cycle of violence in our community. To learn more about Hope House or domestic violence, visit hopehouse.net.
*Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center
MaryAnne Metheny is the CEO of Hope House and a guest author for the HEAB. The Lee's Summit Health Education Advisory Board is a Mayor-appointed, volunteer board that promotes and advocates community health by assessing health issues, educating the public and government agencies, developing plans to address health issues, encouraging partnerships and evaluating the outcomes.