The YWCA South Hampton Roads is leading a community-wide effort in October to raise awareness about domestic violence, a dark secret of American society that is often cloaked in shame and silence by the victims who are trapped in abusive relationships.
According to the National Center Against Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shares some very sobering statistics: Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. Also, one in three women, and one in four men, has been a victim of domestic violence.
“In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed,” said Mary Kate Andris, President and CEO of the YWCA South Hampton Roads. “It was established to mourn those who have died from domestic violence, to celebrate those who have endured and survived it, and to connect victims with resources and services to support them.”
This year, the YWCA South Hampton Roads invites the entire Hampton Roads community to take a stand and speak out against domestic violence during the month of October. There are many ways to shine a spotlight on this growing epidemic in our region and our nation:
• Donate to our Purple Purse Challenge October 2 through 25th; a fundraising Campaign supporting the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
• Wear PURPLE on October 19, a special day that is designated to show solidarity for victims of domestic violence. Post photos of your family, colleagues or friends wearing purple on your social media platforms.
• Use a photo frame for your profile photo on Facebook that’s purple or says “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” in October.
• Download an Infographic and free Public Service Announcements to post at work, at church or in the community.
• If you suspect that someone may be experiencing domestic violence, reach out to them for support or encourage your friend or loved one to contact the 24-hour crisis hotline, (757) 251-0144. Help is just a phone call away.
• Review the many resources and services that are available at www.YWCAcanhelp.com.
According to Andris, domestic violence is indiscriminate, affecting all races, sexual orientations and socio-economic classes. She also explained that there are many forms of abuse that may not leave a visible mark. “A person in the relationship can gain and maintain power over a spouse or partner through financial control, emotional or psychological abuse, and sexual violence, to name a few,” she said. “Sadly, the cycle of abuse is extremely difficult to break, but help is available.”
The YWCA South Hampton Roads offers many support services for victims of abuse and domestic violence, including a 24-hour Coordinated Crisis Response (CCR) hotline, (757) 251-0144, that was launched a year ago through collaboration with other organizations in the Hampton Roads region. The CCR hotline is staffed by trained counselors who can offer assistance and can quickly get individuals or families to safety if needed. These counselors have access to translation services to help people in all languages.
“About 800 calls are made to the crisis hotline each month,” added Andris, noting that approximately $10,000 in hotel expenses for victims were covered by the YWCA. “We do everything we can to make sure that anyone who needs help can get immediate access to emergency shelter, counseling and other services.”
To learn more about the YWCA’s commitment to speak out against domestic violence and to support victims of abuse, visit www.YWCAcanhelp.com.