By Lori Day – American women are in the midst of an unprecedented societal “moment.” #MeToo and #TimesUp shine a light on what women have endured from men throughout history. So why is domestic violence still flying below the radar of our media and our national conscience when one in four women experiences severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime? When over half of American female homicide victims are murdered by intimate partners?
Despite the latest news of abusers in the White House and stories of recent domestic violence homicides like this one and this one, we still don’t have a clarion call for it to STOP like the calls demanding justice and social change by other similar movements. Steve Bannon is right that an anti-patriarchy movement is underway, and it’s about time. Thousands of years of history of men’s abuse of women is indeed being called out, but not without a two-steps-forward-one-step-backwards sort of backlash—from both men and women. Domestic violence, in particular, is still spoken about in whispers, if at all. My own elderly aunt said to me the other day, “In polite society domestic violence is not a popular subject.”
It may not be a popular subject, but it sure is a “popular” behavior. And that needs to change.
A look at the numbers…
Not only is domestic violence lethal to women, it is lethal to first responders as well. On average, 22% of police officers killed in the line of duty each year lose their lives on domestic violence calls. Recently in Colorado, a sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot and three other deputies were injured while responding to a domestic disturbance at a Denver apartment complex.
Did you know that from September 11, 2001 to June 6, 2012, more American women were killed by intimate partners than all of the terrorism victims of 9/11 plus all of the American military fatalities due to the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined? The numbers aren’t even close.
If you already knew this, you are among a small minority of American citizens. And if you are concerned about gun violence, you will not be surprised to learn that male gun violence toward American women is unparalleled in the world.
In the face of such tremendous obstacles, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, a local organization on a national mission, has created a solution to end the epidemic that is domestic violence homicide. The DA-LE/DVHRT is our David to male violence’s Goliath. As women’s lives are saved, simultaneously our community response systems to domestic violence are transformed.
And we’re just getting started! The map below shows where we are currently saving lives. As we raise more funds and build capacity, we hope to be working in even more cities, towns and rural areas in every state in America.
Our model not only saves lives, it saves money. Prevention costs communities relatively little compared to the exorbitant financial repercussions of homicide.
Why won’t this country be proactive instead of reactive? Please help us change that. Support our crowdfunding campaign and our stated goal of reducing domestic violence homicide by 50% within communities receiving training on the DA-LE/DVHRT in the next ten years.
It’s time for domestic violence to be included in the current national dialogue and to receive the urgent national response that it deserves. What’s at stake is women’s ability to live safe and productive lives free of male violence, and to remain alive, period.
It is time to #endDVhomicide.
*The DA-LE is a product of collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center partnered with two leading researchers in the field of intimate partner homicide, Dr. Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Dr. Jill Theresa Messing, MSW, PhD of Arizona State University School of Social Work. Together, we co-developed the DA-LE.
About The Author
Lori Day is an educational psychologist and consultant with Lori Day Consulting in Newburyport, MA. She is the author of Her Next Chapter, and President of the Board of Directors of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center. She is also a regular contributor to Women You Should Know.