As October, which was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, draws to a close, my colleague Betsy Lazerow, JCARES Outreach Coordinator, showed me statistics regarding the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault on individuals, homes and families that are stunning:
- 60% of Americans, 15 years of age or older, know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
- Among the 70% of women who have experienced domestic violence and told someone about it, more than half (58%) said that no one helped them.
- Three out of four (73%) parents with children under the age of 18 said that they have not had a conversation about violence in the home.
- Almost two thirds (64%) of Americans age 15 or older say if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone.
Source: "NO MORE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Survey of Attitudes and Experiences of Teens and Adults" conducted by GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, funded by the Avon Foundation for Women.
Chances are you know someone who has been impacted by domestic violence - either directly or indirectly. Yet many of us do not know what to say to someone who is being abused.
Betsy offered four tips that will help you support friends, family, colleagues or congregants:
- Listen in a caring, supportive and non-judgmental way.
- Express concern. You may be the first person who has ever hinted that these things may not be acceptable or healthy.
- Offer practical resources such as JCFS, SHALVA or other domestic violence agencies. A list of resources is available on the JCARES webpage, http://www.jcfs.org/jcares
- Respect the choices that she/he makes even if you don't agree with them.
If we hope to end domestic violence and sexual assault, we all need to be part of the solution. To view a new public service announcement campaign, NO MORE, and learn more about what we can all do to help prevent and raise awareness around these issues, visit http://nomore.org/psas/.
JCARES offers outreach, prevention and education services designed to increase awareness, further understanding, and provide a culturally sensitive, holistic response to abuse in Jewish homes and families. Rooted in Jewish values and empowered by the combined strength of coalition members, JCARES is a catalyst for systemic change that supports healthy relationships, homes and communities. For more information, visit www.jcfs.org/jcares