Statistics show that one of every four women in the United States are affected by domestic violence. In Kentucky, one of every three women are affected in some way by domestic violence. Since 1987, October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Nationally, every 15 seconds a woman is battered by a partner or former partner, but in the state of Kentucky, that number rises to every 9 seconds,” said Harlan County Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Sheryl Caudel. “The numbers are overwhelming. Each day is potentially lethal for women in abusive relationships. Secrecy, isolation and shame contribute to this compound issue. Children, in-laws, current partners and siblings will also be victims. Women will die of strangulation, decapitation, blunt force trauma, gunshot wounds, stab wounds, vehicular homicide and arson. They will leave behind babies, children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and co-workers to mourn their deaths.”
Caudel said during this past fiscal year, running from September to September, 25 women in Kentucky were killed by an intimate partner or spouse. She said that averages to more than two per month and does not include secondary victims or male domestic violence homicide victims.
“This should be a wake-up call for all of us,” said Caudel. “Each month the 15 domestic violence shelters across Kentucky serve an average of 350 victims of domestic violence and their children. Abuse touches every one of us either directly or indirectly. Whether we realize it or not, we all know someone who has been abused. It’s time we all began working together to end abuse of any kind and to create zero tolerance for it in our communities. Abuse does not discriminate. It knows no racial, social or economic boundaries. It exists in all countries, in all communities and in all neighborhoods. It takes many forms – bullying, teen dating violence, spousal abuse and elder abuse.”
As a reminder that October is domestic violence awareness month, the Harlan County Domestic Violence Council’s members have placed purple ribbons on streets throughout Harlan. A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 on the Harlan County courthouse lawn.
“The Family Life Abuse Center helps us sponsor this event each year,” said Caudel. “The vigil is held to celebrate survivors and mourn those who lost their lives to domestic violence. There will be live music, refreshments and door prizes. I hope everyone will make plans to attend the event this year. We all need to work together to end domestic violence, not only in Harlan County, but across the United States.”
If you or anyone you love is in an abusive relationship, call the domestic violence 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-755-5348 or to speak with the Harlan County Victim Advocate call 606-392-1129.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com