Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!


Since April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I'm planning on posting domestic violence statistics and articles throughout this month. Chances are very good that someone you are close to has been, is currently, or will at some time be involved in an abusive relationship. These are just the facts. Domestic abuse happens within all races and ethnicities; all religions; all economic classes; either sex; and either hetero- or homosexual relationships... One can NOT define someone as being "low class", "uneducated", "poor" or ANY other stereotype because they are or have been in an abusive relationship.

Today, I'm going to focus on information I found on the Utah Domestic Violence Annual Report that was published in January 2005 by the Governor's Violence Against Women and Families Cabinet Council. I made sure prior to reproducing and distributing this information here that I could do so without permission (wouldn't want to get in trouble with the law or anything). I'm starting with Utah because it's where I've lived my entire life.

Domestic violence is one of the fastest growing and most serious violent crimes in Utah today. Over the past few years the frequency and intensity of this abuse has increased. Countless victims and survivors of domestic violence are enduring more severe beatings and life threatening situations than those in years past. In Utah, domestic violence is becoming more aggressive and brutal.

Domestic violence encompasses all races, ethnic groups, educational levels, social and economic classes, sexual orientations, religions, gender and physical and mental abilities. Domestic violence is unspoken and often faceless. For many people, it is hidden and rarely discussed in public. Many individuals don't recognize it as a public issue that significantly impacts communities, families, and individuals. It is quiet in our conversations and that secret speaks volumes for the continuation of domestic violence.

This violence is characterized as a systematic pattern of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, which is predominantly directed by men against women. Rather than a series of independent acts or events, it is most often part of a process in which the perpetrator maintains control and domination over the victim...

I found this report very interesting because it focuses on the year 2004. That is the year in which I escaped the abusive relationship I was in. The following is some information from the same report concerning the Utah domestic violence shelters, specifically in the year 2004:

In Utah,sixteen domestic violence shelters provide services to victims and survivors. From these shelters during 2004, one thousand five hundred ninety-two (1,592) families requesting DV Shelter were referred to other communities because their local shelters were full.


See the highlighted line for Provo? See the 432 clients sheltered? Three of those were Maya, Penelope and me. See the 5,256 days of service? 108 of those days belonged to us (36 days for each of us).

I was lucky. My local shelter had room for my daughters and me when it was my CHANCE to escape. After I arrived there, the place was almost filled to capacity. Most of the 36 days I lived there, the shelter was at or above capacity. I was lucky that I didn't have to wait for enough beds for the girls and me. Most women KNOW when it's time to get out... and there is no room for error or waiting on room at the shelter. If I had been referred to another shelter in another county, I would have been stranded there in that county once I returned my father's truck to him. That would have terrified me. It was scary enough to rely on the bus system after having had my own car since I was 16, but to have to learn a whole new county's bus routing system... or worse yet, be in a county with NO bus system and NO vehicle and NO money... I don't know if I would have made it.

I will be forever grateful to the Utah County Center for Women and Children in Crisis. It was a safe haven for my girls and me. I made many friends there, and received free counseling, free food, free diapers for Penelope, free second-hand clothing for my girls and myself. Free tampons... something to think about here... how we take for granted having a few bucks to buy necessary feminine hygiene products every month... when you don't have a place to live or money for food, those donated hygiene products are worth their weight in GOLD, I tell ya.

During this month, I'm going to be assigning homework to all my loyal readers (all two or three of you! lol). I'll be doing the homework assignments also. Anyway, I will be posting a list on my sidebar, and will be adding to it each day. The items on the list will be things that will go into care packages for the women and children at the Provo, Utah, women's shelter. If you would like to help me out, check the list and find, purchase or make any or all of the items on the list. At the end of the month, I will be putting the packages together. If you live near me, and want to help with that task, just leave me a comment on my blog and let me know. I know a few of you don't live near me and may still want to help out. If so, you could make your own care package(s) and donate it/them to your local shelter. Remember: Think Globally ~ ACT Locally! Thanks in advance!

1 comment:

Modern Mormon Woman said...
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