October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as a victim advocate, I am calling for the community to support all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The National Resource Center for Domestic Violence reports that, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men.
In 2014, statistics documented by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that there were 16,700 domestic violence offenses filed in Colorado. More than 80 percent of women who experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by a partner report serious impact such as symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, almost half of all murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner. The vast majority of these victims are female.
There were 25 Coloradans were killed last year by former or current intimate partners, and almost 70 percent of the victims were killed by gunshot. A woman is more likely to be killed by a spouse or an intimate acquaintance than by a stranger.
An interesting study conducted in 2014 by Colorado domestic violence programs tracked just one day in the state of Colorado. It found that 904 victims received assistance, with 163 turned away due to a lack of resources that day. Only 78 percent of the reporting domestic violence programs participated in the study. It is a sad reality that 41 people in Colorado died as a result of domestic violence in that year. This illustrates the importance of reporting domestic violence and the support it should receive in the community.
In October, I encourage you to wear or display purple to raise awareness, show your solidarity with survivors and their families, and take a stand against domestic violence. You can also show solidarity by attending the Candlelight Vigil on Friday, Oct. 11, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.on the corner of F and 1st Street. In addition to a candle ceremony, there will be a live drummer experience, chili, hot cocoa and cider.
Domestic violence knows no barriers — it doesn’t discriminate against ethnicity, income or geography. Survivors often hide the truth from family, friends or co-workers. There is no reason to hide. If you’re a survivor, you can escape domestic violence. There are many available resources for those needing help. The first step is to stop hiding. Silence Hides Violence.
If you feel like you’re in danger, call 911. Or contact The Alliance at 719- 539-7347
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of guest articles about domestic violence.