Guest post by: Michelle Gilbert, HAVEN Board member and
Vice President Public Relations, Comcast Cable
I’m one of the “lucky” ones. I don’t have my own personal story about being a victim of domestic violence or watching someone close to me suffer from this senseless social issue. That doesn’t mean I don’t know anyone who’s been victimized by a loved one.
I know plenty of people who have been victims. Some have shared their stories with me. Others remain anonymous concealing their real-life nightmares and bruises as if they never happened.
This is why I support HAVEN—because people I care about have experienced domestic violence. I don’t need proof from them. The staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women will be victimized in her life is proof enough for me. Look around you: That’s 1 in 3 women you know—friends, loved ones and colleagues—who have gone through or will eventually experience some form of domestic violence. For me, supporting HAVEN is my way of helping those around me who need their services.
I was first introduced to HAVEN and its paramount mission while working for a previous employer whose primary philanthropic focus is domestic violence awareness and prevention. Throughout my 14-year career with that company, I learned a lot about the social issue, including what it encompasses (it’s not always physical abuse), how to identify the signs and how to make a difference. The most meaningful lesson I learned is that domestic violence is a social issue we all need to care about. Organizations, like HAVEN, cannot fight it on their own. They need the support of government leaders, businesses and regular people like you and me.
If I haven’t yet persuaded you about why HAVEN’s mission is one that directly or indirectly impacts you, here a few more reasons why I support HAVEN:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
- One in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
- One in seven men will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
- Worldwide, men who were exposed to domestic violence as children are three to four times more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence as adults than men who did not experience domestic abuse as children.
- Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.
Living without fear is not a privilege. Rather, it’s our right—mine, yours, hers and his. The only way to eradicate domestic violence is for each of us to stand up and make a difference. For more information on how to make a difference, contact HAVEN.