Week 80 of Action: Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Lisa* came to Aid To Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) through their Outreach program. She had been suffering from emotional, verbal and psychological abuse from her husband. Lisa emigrated from Brazil and her husband was promising to petition for her to become a permanent resident. However, part of his abuse was to delay this process and continually telling her she was “nothing and that she is no one in this country.” Because of her participation in AVDA’s trauma-informed support group she learned to process and manage her feelings about the abuse she suffered and to rebuild her self-esteem. The staff at AVDA tell us it has been an honor to witness her transformation into a strong, independent woman who is successfully caring for herself and her 10 year old son.
Stories like this happen every single day not only here in Palm Beach County, but all over the country. Lisa was one of the lucky ones – victims of domestic violence are not always this fortunate.
In America, 12.7 million people are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners each year. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner. During one year, this equals more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by their partner within their lifetime. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
While the impact of domestic violence is shocking, talking about it helps empower victims. Starting a conversation about these issues can help. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If we want to start making a change in our community, we need to not only talk about these issues in October but year-round. We all need to be a part of the solution.
* Her name has been changed to protect confidentiality