October 18, 2019
Louisiana ranks second in the nation for violence against women.
Women in our state are murdered by men at a rate more than twice the national average.
Let that sink in.
This isn’t a new problem. The latest data (2017) show the sixth straight increase in female homicide victimization rates in Louisiana, currently at 2.64 per 100,000 females.
Intimate partner violence affects men, too. One in 7 men report experiencing severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to not only mourn this senseless brutality but also to focus on how we can turn the tide.
One way is public policy. In 2014, we set out to completely overhaul Louisiana’s domestic violence laws to protect women, children, and partners and appropriately punish their abusers.
It wasn’t an easy proposition. We were told it would take years, even decades. But when something is right, you fight. No matter the obstacles. No matter the odds.
That same year, the United Against Domestic Violence coalition secured passage of the most aggressive package of domestic violence laws ever introduced - and we didn’t stop there. In 2015, we passed 15 bills protecting victims; five in 2016, five in 2017, 12 in 2018, and three in 2019.
We’re grateful to the legislative champions who made these wins possible: Governor John Bel Edwards, Sen. J.P. Morrell, Rep. Joe Marino, Rep. Pat Smith, Sen. Regina Barrow, Sen. Danny Martiny, and so many more.
It’s easy to see why other states are now modeling their domestic violence policy overhauls after Louisiana’s efforts. Working together, across party lines, we’ve made significant progress in the fight to protect all domestic violence survivors – yet we still find ourselves at the top of another nation’s-worst list.
This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we challenge you to be part of the solution to ending domestic violence. Simply put, this work requires funding. We need your help to continue our advocacy and help fund the 12+ United Way Community Partners who provide crucial, on-the-ground support to survivors, education and counselling for abusers, and prevention programming for youth.
Make a gift today – lives are at stake.
United Way SELA Executive Vice President & COO
United Way SELA Public Policy Committee Chair