LETTER: Domestic Violence is everyone’s businessOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when every person should consider what they can do to help end the epidemic of domestic violence that plagues our community, our state and our nation.
By: Wendy Figland, Mitchell
To the Editor:
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when every person should consider what they can do to help end the epidemic of domestic violence that plagues our community, our state and our nation.
The statistics are staggering. In the United States, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. How many women is that in your life? Over 90 percent of the victims we work with at Mitchell Area Safehouse are female. We do, however, offer the same service to male victims of domestic violence. In 2011, Mitchell Area Safehouse sheltered 179 adults and children for a total of 3,712 shelter days. We assisted 827 adults and children with non-shelter services.
The recent murder of Amanda and the stabbing assault of another victim in Sioux Falls bring to light that domestic/intimate partner violence is everyone’s business. Abuse affects everyone in our communities and we must all come together to stop this epidemic. The cost of domestic violence is astonishing. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year. $4.1 billion of that amount is for direct medical and mental health services. Victims of intimate partner violence lose almost 8 million days of paid work each year because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.
If you or someone you know is a victim of intimate partner violence, help is available. Call our 24-hour crisis line at 996-4440. If you would like to volunteer your services to help victims of domestic violence, Mitchell Area Safehouse is looking for volunteers in a variety of capacities. Give us a call. Stand with us to do your part in ending domestic violence in our community.
There IS strength in numbers.
Wendy Figland is the executive director of the Mitchell Area Safehouse.