Empowering Domestic Violence Survivors

10 Oct Empowering Domestic Violence Survivors

We all deserve the opportunity to feel valuable and lead fulfilling lives. I started my business and founded Innovate 50/50 as an advocate of women’s rights and empowering women. My mission does not just include empowering women who want to climb to the top of the career ladder, it also incorporates giving a voice to those who feel unrepresented. Women who have survived domestic violence oftentimes do not have the confidence to speak up for themselves. Some may feel that they do not even have adequate opportunities to do so.

I would like to take this time to honor those that either no longer have a voice, may not have the courage to speak for themselves, or have courageously survived. As a society, we can come together to empower those in need and provide them the strength for a positive, bright future. What is Domestic Violence and Why is Action So Important? To have a clear understanding of exactly what domestic violence is, it can be best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors. These behaviors include sexual, physical, and psychological as well as economic coercion used by one partner against another to gain, maintain, or regain power, and control in the relationship.

Typically, a range of tactics are utilized in order to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, blame, humiliate, oftentimes injure, and sometimes kill a current or former partner.

 

The statistics are clear on why we need to take action as well. 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. Many of these victims do not receive adequate treatment. Some fail to report the crime and receive treatment for their injuries due to fear of additional abuse, shame, and social stigmas. A woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the United States. An average of 20 people is physically abused by partners every 60 seconds. This statistic equates to over 10 million abuse victims each year. The presence of a gun in domestic violence intensifies the risk of homicide by 500 percent. Domestic Violence is the most common among women aged 18-24. Merely 34 percent who are injured by partners receive medical care for their injuries.

 

Domestic violence also has prevalent economic effects. Women miss work, some may lose their jobs, and some have been murdered in the workplace. How can we fix this predominance of violence that disproportionately affects women? Why is Empowerment So Important? Survivors of violence merit empowerment, a voice, and plenty of support. This empowerment can come through the provision of services, access to information, education, and other necessary economic and social support to make informed decisions that best reflects their interests and needs.

 

Victims necessitate risk minimization, counseling, and post-victimization assistance. This approach allows for collaborations within communities to prevent additional cases of domestic violence and treat the ones that do occur. Empowerment is essential. Abusers control their victims. Survivors need a voice and to learn how to use their own. You cannot simply tell a victim to leave their abuser. Empowerment philosophy is much more successful because by coaching victims how to leave they will then possess the knowledge and abilities to make decisions that foster healthy, violence-free relationships.

 

What most may not realize is that many who suffer from domestic violence at some point hear that they are worthless, useless, or a horrible parent and/ or partner. What victims need most is support, encouragement, and the resources to achieve their goals. Empowering women who have survived this abuse is healing because they can see that they are not these things and that they too have plenty to offer the world.

 

What Role Does Equality Play? Much of my coaching and consulting business as well as Innovate 50/50 is based upon the theories of equality. Why does equality matter in domestic violence? I think that people may tend to forget that when we are discussing victims or survivors we are referring to someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, friend, co-worker, boss, among many other things. We cannot simply discard a victim or survivor of domestic violence as less valuable than any other individual. We are all created equally and none of us is better than another.

 

Each individual deserves respect and dignity. So please take the time this month to volunteer at a shelter, speak with a female in need, donate some clothing or personal items, and empower her towards a better life. Your small actions can make a big difference and leave a lasting, positive impact.

 

Valerie Martinelli, MPA

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