October 1, 2019 Domestic Violence in Sheridan, Wyoming and #1Thing YOU Can Do About It
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to the survivors of domestic violence and in honor of those who lost their lives because of domestic violence.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the baseline definition of domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence) is “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse.”
What does that mean?
Domestic violence cannot be limited to a definition, a scene from a movie, or a perception from the outside world.
Domestic violence to a survivor is their personal lived experience. Survivors determine for themselves whether or not they are in a domestic violence relationship. They are the experts of their own lives and needs for safety, choice, and freedom. Survivors may endure countless tactics of abuse while simultaneously feeling as if they are somehow responsible or deserving of the violence. Without visible community support against domestic violence, survivors may be unsure whether or not their family, friends, or community will believe them and help them through it.
According the Centers for Disease Control, intimate partner violence is common in the United States. About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of intimate partner violence-related impact. Over 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Domestic violence happens in Sheridan, Wyoming. In 2018, the Advocacy & Resource Center served 225 people for domestic violence specific services. That statistic does not reflect the nationally averaged experience of domestic violence from both men and women. More people than we know of in Sheridan County are surviving domestic violence and deserve our community support.
This year, I was inspired by a Domestic Violence awareness campaign called #1Thing.
#1Thing presents small, achievable suggestions to participate in ending domestic violence in our relationships, workplaces, and community. Post your #1Thing on your social media accounts. Have a #1Thing conversation with your book club or weekly dinner gathering. Teach #1Thing to your children that can make a difference. My hope is that you find these simple suggestions a doable starting place for your own advocacy to end domestic violence.
Here are more ideas to make a difference.
- Be a caring and consistent adult in the life of a child
- Talk to my loved ones about violence and oppression
- Create a culture of consent in my home
- Speak out when I notice macroaggressions
- Write to my legislator and/or newspaper
- Use social media to raise awareness among my peers
- Host a “lunch and learn” at my office on topics related to violence and oppression
- Reach out to women and people of color led organizations to establish new partnerships
- Learn more about how my workplace policies impact survivors of abuse
- Reach out to my local domestic violence program to learn how I can help
- Ask about anti-violence policies and programs at local schools
- Organize information meeting at church and invite my local domestic violence program
- Consume and share media created by historically oppressed people
- Model self-care at work and home
- Tell someone they matter
- Listen to and validated a survivor of trauma
- Hold my loved ones accountable when they tell a racist/sexist joke
- Share my story (publicly or just with a single trusted loved one)
- Donate money or time to a community-based nonprofit
- Support women and people of color owned businesses in my community
From the Domestic Violence Awareness Project