In a Presidential Proclamation, October, 2015 was declared National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The proclamation states "Domestic violence impacts women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and face tremendous threats to their health and safety. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we reaffirm our dedication to forging an America where no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence causes -- and we recommit to doing everything in our power to uphold the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse."
The United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.
According to a recent report by the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana ranks 4th in the nation for females murdered by males in 2013 with 55 percent of the victims were shot and killed with guns. Of these women, 93 percent were killed by someone they knew, and 50 percent of those women were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.
As part of United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s 2015 Public Policy Legislative Agenda, we supported the Louisiana Domestic Violence Prevention Commission legislation recommendations and continued to advocate for positions that were previously taken in the 2014 State Legislative Session.
Last year we made history with the most aggressive package of domestic violence bills ever introduced and passed into law by the Louisiana State Legislature aimed at combating domestic abuse. This year we expanded on what was passed last year and addressed issues including dating partners, stalking and firearms that came out of the newly created Domestic Violence Prevention Commission chaired by UWSELA’s Public Policy Chairman, Kim Sport. Charmaine Caccioppi has also been appointed to serve on the Commission. Read our full report here.
Elizabeth is a survivor. Her husband killed her daughter, then shot Elizabeth three times in the face. Last year, she joined hundreds of people at the State Capitol with United Way to rally for legislation to help victims of domestic violence. Learn more about Elizabeth.
We ask you to honor the Presidents' call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.