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Congresswoman Waters Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 27, 2011
Press Release

Below is Congresswoman Maxine Waters' statement regarding Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

"I am proud to unite with the millions of victims, families and advocates worldwide in bringing about awareness to the immeasurable issues surrounding domestic violence in our communities. The month of October gives us an opportunity to dispel the innumerable misconceptions and educate our community on the issues that surround domestic violence. Nearly three out of four, that's 74 percent, of Americans know someone personally who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to be clear that domestic violence is not poor anger management. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that is used by one partner in the relationship, heterosexual or same-sex, to gain or maintain power and control over the other partner. Domestic violence is all-encompassing and too often a life-threatening crime affecting millions of individuals across our nation regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status, race or religion.

Below are some startling statistics that only further prove the importance of bringing awareness to this issue:  

  • Every nine seconds a woman is beaten by her intimate partner and one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • Between 600,000 and 6 million women and 100,000 and 6 million men are victims of domestic violence each year.
  • Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner and 40 percent of girls age 14 to 17 reports knowing someone their age that has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
  • Studies show that 3.3 to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Boys who witness such violence are more likely to grow up to perpetuate this violence against their partner and girls are more likely to become the victims of such violence.

It is troubling to know that only a mere thirty years ago, a victim of domestic violence could be battered at home and there were little to no criminal action taken or resources available.  Although we have made a great deal of progress since then, there is still much to do in the crusade to decrease domestic violence crimes in our communities. As the pressure from the economic downturn continues to affect families, many victims still suffer in silence and for many others who do come forward there are simply just not enough resources available. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as an opportunity for us to make our commitment to ensuring victims and their families are safe and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions evident. Nearly 2.2 million people called a domestic violence crisis or hot lines to escape crisis situations, seek advice, or assist someone they thought might be victims. Let us continue to work together to change laws and policies that undervalue the effects on women and girls and put the blame where it belongs — on the abuser. Let us continue to work even harder at educating others on recognizing the signs of domestic violence, how to help their friends and family and work with our youth early on to prevent the perpetuation of this abuse within our communities. This October, let us rededicate ourselves to doing all we can to assist those who are affected by domestic violence and continue our never-ending work towards ending this pandemic within our communities."