National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October 2022. Credits: Ramón Elizondo.
As we speak up on National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, experts talk about how victims are the essential key to combating this phenomenon that affects thousands of people every year.
In an interview with the executive director of the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ACASA), Monie Ballard told us that one of the main causes is the lack of reaction from those who experience it and that in many cases they fall into physical and sexual abuse from their partner.
“We know that in many cases, victims of domestic violence are silent, instead of speaking up and asking for justice,” Ballard said. “We also know that in most cases, the victims are afraid to get away from the aggressor, since they often threaten them.”
Ballard is aware that the majority of the victims stayed with the aggressor, they won’t leave, as she believes that there are many reasons beyond what is logical for many victims. Another factor is the financial situation which many victims seem as hard to deal with, especially when they share children with the aggressor.
The ACASA believes that the only strategy to minimize domestic violence in the country is to educate people in general, starting the focal point at schools.
In the meantime, ACASA is willing to give shelter to those who have experienced violence and have no place to live. Too, they have resources available, such as social workers who take the cases of each individual who comes to ask for help, including legal advice when necessary, and helping those who are undocumented immigrants as well.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every day an average of 20,000 calls are made to domestic violence hotlines across the country. In Arkansas, 40.8% of women experience physical violence, often coupled with sexual violence and harassment by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. The prognosis also reflects that 34.8% of men in our state, go through this experience and are not exempt from domestic violence.
The University of Arkansas, at Fayetteville (UAF), encouraged the entire campus community to come together this month in solidarity with victims and survivors of domestic violence. The educational entity asked everyone to wear shades of purple for at least one day a week during October, and also expressed the importance of taking the message abroad and beyond the school classrooms, and using the hashtag #PurpleThursday on social media.
“Raising awareness to reduce domestic violence is something the entire campus community can work on together,” said Shanita Pettaway, Director of Title IX Compliance and UAF Title IX Coordinator.
The same awareness is implemented by the state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, who raise awareness about domestic violence in Arkansas since she came into office in 2015. For that purpose, she created Laura’s Card, an infographics type of business card that includes their rights, crisis lines, contacts for shelters, law enforcement information, and more.
If you ever experience domestic violence or know anyone, please spread the word.24-hour crisis line
- Women and Children First – (800) 332-4443
- Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault – (800) 656-4673
- Arkansas State Police Child Abuse – (800) 482-5964
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center – (888) 373-7888
- You can also download a copy by visiting https://arkansasag.gov/wp-content/uploads/lauras_card_3-18-20.pdf