To The Daily Sun,
This October marks the 34th anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and here in New Hampshire we are encouraging everyone to take a stand against these crimes that impact so many of our friends and loved ones.
It's important to know that in the United States one in four women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. In New Hampshire it is estimated that 33.4 percent of women, and 24 percent of men have experienced a physical assault by an intimate partner. That is someone you know. This issue remains a deadly and dangerous one as half of all homicides in New Hampshire are domestic violence related.
So many people ask the question "Why doesn't' she just leave?" Though the reasons are incredibly varied from victim to victim, fear, stigma and economic barriers are some of the main reasons domestic violence victims may stay in abusive relationships. Abusers may threaten to harm or kill pets and children. They may also use drugs or alcohol as a tactic, forcing a victim to take or sell drugs and trapping them in a cycle of addiction. They may exploit victims and force them into sex trafficking. Abusers may have eroded a victim's self-esteem to the point that they feel they deserve to be abused.
Financial abuse which includes tactics like keeping victims from having a job or transportation, monitoring spending or ruining credit isolates victims and is cited as the number one reason that victims remain trapped in abusive relationships. For victims who are ready to seek support and break free New Beginnings-Without Violence and Abuse, provides an essential lifeline. However, resources are stretched beyond capacity and last year New Hampshire's crisis centers had to reluctantly turn away 1,131 people seeking shelter because they were full.
But you can make a difference. This October we encouraged everyone to get involved in the work to end domestic violence. New Beginnings hosted our first Inter-Faith Breakfast, where we invited members of the local faith community to discuss these very issues and collaborate on possible solutions. Together, we began a discussion that will hopefully continue until we end violence for everyone. On Thursday, Oct. 22, our office wore purple to raise awareness for domestic violence and encouraged others to do the same, not just on one day but all month long. On Jan. 30 we will be holding a Wear Your Heart Fashion Show to raise awareness and honor those affected by human trafficking. You can find out more about this event or about other ways to help by visiting: http://www.newbeginningsnh.org/ or calling 528-6511. Please consider volunteering for or donating to New Beginnings.
Please join us, and support our mission to increase safety and healing for victims and prevent violence before it occurs. If you need help or information, domestic violence advocates at New Beginnings are standing by to help. Our 24-hour support line is 1-866-644-3574. You don't have to be in crisis to call.
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