One in four. 1:4. 25%.
These are just different ways to write-out the number of people who experience violence or a fear of violence. In the majority of situations, this violence is carried out by someone whom the victim knows personally—they are betrayed by someone who is supposed to love them or care about them.
In Northwest Arkansas, the number of victims is estimated to be around 125,000. To put that number into context, it represents all the residents of Bentonville, Berryville, Huntsville, and Springdale combined.
When one of these 125,000 faces violence, where can they go for help? Many have the support network of family and friends to get out of the situation. Some try to leave and, sadly, do not make it as their abusers find out and further terrorize them and their children. Some are even killed by their abusers.
Others seek help from emergency safe shelters, like the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter. In 2014 alone, 546 individuals resided in our Shelter (47% of those were children). Their time in the Shelter was spent trying to get beyond the immediate trauma and chaos they had just experienced, trying to breathe on their own again, and trying to think without being yelled at or intimidated. Some of our clients spend a lot of time resting as they have not experienced the feelings of safety and of peace for a long time.
Their time at the Shelter is also a time to refocus. Through support groups and one-on-one advocacy, the isolation they felt in their abusive environments slowly disappears. As our clients transform from victims to survivors, they begin to see the paths they need to take to keep themselves and their children safe.
That journey from victim to survivor is different for every person. Domestic violence shelters exist to provide hope for a better future. We provide the safe and supportive environment survivors need to continue their journeys toward healthier relationships and productive lives.
To continue providing that hope, shelters like ours rely upon the help of community members who want to help build a future for the community that is free of violence. We look to faith-based groups, corporations, and individuals who want to stand against domestic and sexual violence. The negative impact of domestic and sexual violence can improve in Northwest Arkansas only when we are all involved.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Will you consider taking your stand with the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter beginning this month to help? With a gift of $50 per month, you can provide the gift of safety and hope for one woman, child, or man each month. As a “Builder of Hope,” you help lay the foundation for a future that is violence free, one person at a time.
You may join other like-minded Builders of Hope today as together we work toward promoting a community that values abuse- and violence-free homes. Learn more about becoming a Builder of Hope today.