Support shelter’s anniversary

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Domestic violence tends to be a hidden evil in our society, one that bubbles just below the service ready to rise up and shock anyone who makes the mistake of thinking it doesn’t affect them.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. It strikes all races, all socioeconomic statuses and all regions of the country.

The cost to our society is huge. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says. Nearly three-quarters of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner. In intimate partner homicides, 20 percent of the total victims are persons other than the main victim — family members, friends, neighbors, people who tried to intervene, law enforcement responders and bystanders.

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The horrible cycle of violence is perpetuated when children witness the abuse. One in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence each year, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says.

It’s easy to wonder why victims stay in abusive relationships when you’re not the victim. Abusers use any number of threats to prevent their victims from leaving — they’ll hurt the kids or win custody of the kids; they’ll harm or kill pets; their victim will be ruined financially. The threat of losing their victim is the time when an abuser is most likely to kill their partner.

In addition, there are numerous barriers to victims leaving, including unsupportive friends and family and lack of financial resources they can access separate from the relationship.

In Suffolk, one organization takes the lead in assisting victims of domestic violence who want to leave their abusive relationships. The Genieve Shelter not only provides emergency shelter but also assists victims in their long-term transition out of the abusive relationship and into a new life without their abuser. The shelter provides assistance with the legal system, mentoring and job search help, services for kids and more.

The shelter will be celebrating its 30th anniversary at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 E. Constance Road. Tickets are $50 and available at the door, and attendees should be dressed semi-formally.

We urge all who are able to support the “30 Years of Serving the Many Faces of Domestic Violence” gala.