Oct. 1 marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The central message of this year's events is that, as a community, we have the power to reduce the number of victims of domestic violence.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical domestic violence. Significantly, one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe domestic violence at the hands of their intimate partners. Statistically, this means 6,716 women and 5,088 men have been victimized in Fremont County. Importantly, the Bureau of Justice found that the rate of violent victimization for American Indians is more than double that of the rest of the nation.
The type of victimization experienced by survivors of domestic abuse ranges from verbal assaults through violent physical and sexual assaults by intimate partners.
It is my goal as the director of the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to take on the myths and to challenge Fremont County as a whole to do three things over the next month.
The first challenge is to believe people when they tell you they have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. It takes an amazing amount of courage to divulge victimization, and the key to getting help and to staying safe is a strong support system of friends and family who believe the victim.
The second challenge is to attend one of the numerous events being hosted by the Fremont County Alliance over the next month. Your attendance gives us the opportunity to show solidarity against domestic violence.
My final challenge is to have individuals commit to not remaining passive bystanders to violence. If we take a stand against domestic violence we have the opportunity to create a positive change in the lives of thousands of our friends and family members.
If you or someone you know is living in a domestic violence relationship, call (307) 856-4734 for completely confidential, free services with an experienced advocate.
Sydney L. Moller
Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault