From the Director
Here we are on the cusp of another fabulous fall season and honoring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have had several events throughout the month. Check throughout this newsletter for the photos of all of the events and all of their glory.
We asked the city and county commissions to get on their agendas to have them proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and what it means to our communities to have their support. On October 1st, the City of Sault Ste. Marie mayor read our proclamation and honored us and the work we do.
But what does it mean to make a proclamation? What are we asking from you, the city and county commissions, and ourselves? We are asking you to acknowledge that domestic violence is a problem that exists in our area. We are asking you to understand that we are not trying to break up families. We are trying to help people understand that living in fear in your home does not have to happen.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month started in 1981 as The Day of Unity. It was developed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to unite the advocates in this work so they know they are not fighting alone. The three main premise behind the awareness month is to mourn those who have died, to celebrate those who have survived, and to connect those who continue to work within the movement.
According to the CDC, black women are killed by their partners at a rate of 4.4 per 100,000. Native American or indigenous women are killed at a rate of 4.3 per 100, 000. All other races are killed at a rate of 1 or 2 per 100,000. According to the 2010 Census, there are 157 million women in the United States. If these numbers aren’t alarming to you, you aren’t paying attention.
It’s not just the victims of domestic violence who are being killed. Police officers are at risk of homicide at an increased rate when responding to domestic violence. Perpetrators of domestic violence are more likely to engage in acts of homicide when their victim is trying to leave. This makes it all the more important to engage in safety planning when working with victims of domestic violence who may not be ready to leave yet. When they are ready to leave, the danger may increase.
This information is just a small portion of what is happening in the world we work in every day. Victims are scared, may not understand what their options are, may have no money, no job, or no transportation. They may have children but no way to care for them without their perpetrator. They may be ill or experiencing problematic symptoms from mental illness or substance use disorders.
It is important that all victims are treated with respect and dignity. Victims do not need to be revictimized by the community they live in by being asked the most pointless question: “Why didn’t you just leave?” Victims need our support, understanding, and care. Victims need us and you.
– Betsy Huggett, Executive Director
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