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Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Get Informed

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Get Informed

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge the staggering statistics on domestic abuse in the U.S.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge the staggering statistics on domestic abuse in the U.S.

Staff Sgt. Luis H. Loza Gutierre

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge the staggering statistics on domestic abuse in the U.S.

Staff Sgt. Luis H. Loza Gutierre

Staff Sgt. Luis H. Loza Gutierre

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge the staggering statistics on domestic abuse in the U.S.

Alexandra Bellusci, Contributing Writer

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On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their intimate partners in the U.S. 25-31% of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives and 3 million – 10 million children witness that abuse each year. The statistics are startling and there are many more showcasing the domestic violence that women, men, teens, and children face each and everyday.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is vital for everyone to educate themselves, friends, family members and others because one may never know who is silently suffering or if they might one day need help. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) has collected data that shows domestic violence is an alarming problem in the U.S.

According to the NISVS, on average, 24 individuals per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. One in four women is the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while one in seven men experiences severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

Women are not the only ones who suffer from abuse, as domestic violence can be a family crisis. Children who experience or witness domestic violence in their homes are often mentally, physically and emotionally impacted.

It is easy at times to classify domestic violence as physical violence that leaves marks on your body. Sadly, there are other forms of “invisible” abuse which leaves behind just as permanent scars. It is a difficult conversation to have and individuals may be scared or confused on how to handle it or find help.

At Pace, the peer educator program Fighting Ignorance & Rape with Education [Pace FIRE] is a valuable and confidential resource where students can discuss these issues.

“We serve as confidential counselors for those who don’t want to report up to a higher authority when they are or know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault,” Maura McCarthy, a senior and Pace FIRE volunteer, said. “We wanted to take time to raise awareness for domestic violence awareness month because people aged 16-24 are actually at the highest risk of this type of violence.”

“This month, we’re working closely with both Domestic Violence Shelters and the Putnam-Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center for our events,” she continued. “We love these organizations because of the good the provide in our community.”

Throughout the month, Pace FIRE will be putting on events to bring awareness to domestic violence and educate students. There will be a candlelight vigil with live performances on Oct. 25. This vigil concludes Domestic Awareness Month and honors survivors and those who sadly have not been as lucky to escape.

There are other resources off campus as well for those who might want further help. Hope’s Door seeks to “to end domestic violence and to empower victims to achieve safety, independence, and healing from the trauma of abuse.” My Sister’s Place, based in White Plains, has a crisis hotline, along with counseling and education programs. The Westchester County Office for Women is also a viable option.

There are also options for Pace students who reside in nearby Connecticut.

Christina Datin, a survivor of domestic violence and avid advocate against abuse, runs a website and program for support based in Newtown called THE CENTRE. Datin is dedicated to spreading awareness and breaking down the stigma associated with the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault. THE CENTRE is a place to educate the next generation on domestic abuse, and bring awareness to the pain many are suffering around us everyday.

Datin wants to “give women a safe place to share their trauma without fear of permanent labels, or further victimization and shame for the families who have endured them”.

A staggering 70-85% of physical and sexual abuse goes unreported each year. Hopefully by speaking up and bringing awareness to that abuse, change can occur. Individuals may not be aware of the abuse their neighbors, friends or family members are suffering and it is important to explore domestic violence statistics and its many forms and effects on victims. It could happen to you, your mother, your best friend and you don’t want to wait until it is too late to speak up. You never know when you might be able to help save a life.

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