If today is a typical day, someone's mother, sister, wife, or best friend won't be coming home tomorrow. If today is a typical day, three women in the United States will lose their lives to domestic violence. Today doesn't have to be another typical day.
Domestic violence is commonly recognized as a problem that primarily affects women, but it has no respect for gender or sexual orientation. Whether it's through intimidation, battery, sexual assault, or other abusive behavior, this epidemic claims victims from all age groups, educational levels, and social classes. The consequences of this abusive and violent behavior leave behind deep emotional and physical scars, can perpetuate a cycle of violence, and all too often results in the end of a life.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we stand with the millions who say “enough is enough.” We can start early by educating young women in the 16-24 age group about appropriate dating behavior because they face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. And we can make sure that others in abusive relationships have the resources and support they need to protect themselves from their abusers.
The AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program (AVAP) is one example of how national service is working to end this problem. The multi-agency collaboration in New Hampshire ensures that support and services are available to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and stalking.
AmeriCorps members in the program provide services in crisis centers, police departments, prosecutors' offices, child advocacy centers, and college campuses across the state. Since 1994, AVAP has helped more than 40,000 victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking in addition to:
- Assisting with more than 25,000 restraining orders
- Answering over 19,000 crisis hotline calls
- Accompanying more than 25,000 victims to criminal hearings and arraignments
- Presenting programs to over 35,000 people on topics including teen dating violence, date rape, effects of domestic violence on children, violence prevention, and victims' rights.
- Assisting more than 7,000 secondary victims of domestic and sexual violence, including children
Despite the headlines we see regularly about domestic violence and abuse, there's still a disquieting silence and a sense of shame about this national epidemic. If you know someone who is currently in an abusive relationship, consult the resources below to find ways to get help.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
- National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: Text “loveis” to 77054 or call 1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453
- National Network to End Domestic Violence
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
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