Women’s worst enemy is fear.
It paralyzes us.
Saps our energy and attention from important work.
Limits our creativity and imagination.
Keeps us close to home.¹
The spirit of our time, also defined as a zeitgeist, reflects a heightened determination for women’s rights and equality across all sectors of life. From the ongoing fight for equal pay to the uprising of the #MeToo movement, women are standing up and speaking out to resist injustices and maltreatment. The month of October highlights a time to recognize a very critical issue that deserves international attention and focus, which is Domestic Violence Awareness.
In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.² Women are especially vulnerable to domestic violence abuse as 1 in 4 women to 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality”. The NCADV started a campaign called Day of Unity in October 1981 and has since grown into a national month of awareness that we recognize today.³
The NCADV reminds us that, “physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, stalking, and emotional/psychological abuse.”
How does domestic violence impact women in the workplace?
- Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8,000,000 million days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
Intimate partner violence is estimated to cost the US economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually, up to 0.125% of the national gross domestic product.
- Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.
- Between 2005 and 2006, 130,000 stalking victims were asked to leave their jobs as a result of their victimization.
- Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by former or current intimate.
- This amounts to 22% of workplace homicides among women.
It’s important to note how victims may be unable to leave an abusive partner due to forced financial dependency, limited access to financial resources, or manipulation and/or control of future earning potential. This type of strategic power is defined as economic abuse.
As an effort to liberate women from abusive economic power, the NCADV offers free financial education webinars to help survivors take the necessary steps toward financial freedom and sustainability. Organizations known as the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE), and The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) are also dedicated resources that support the financial empowerment of women. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also released a tax publication to assist and support survivors of domestic abuse.
Women make a significant contribution to the U.S. labor force, which calls the community at large to be advocates of domestic violence awareness.
With domestic violence awareness month comes the opportunity for us to unite and expose intimate partner violence.
Ways to Get Involved
There are lots of ways to support NCADV and its vision of a society with zero tolerance for domestic violence. Visit these pages to learn more about different ways to make it happen:
- Contact Congress using NCADV’s Action Alerts
- Donate or collect cell phones to raise money for NCADV
- Take a stand by adding a Twibbon to your social media profile picture
- Support the #SurvivorSpeaks campaign
- Inspired by the #MeToo movement, NCADV is introducing a similar concept focused on domestic abuse. In an effort to destigmatize domestic violence, and as a reflection of NCADV’s mission to amplify the voices of domestic violence survivors, the organization implemented the #SurvivorSpeaks hashtag. Learn more about it at www.NCADV.org/SurvivorSpeaks
Psychologist Dr. Harriet Lerner states, “… imposed silence in any area of women’s lives is a tool for separation and powerlessness”. Women overcome fear by breaking the silence, dispelling untruths, and owning their stories. Join the movement by believing in the resilience of victims and loudly campaigning awareness for survivors.
¹Lerner, Harriet. 1997. The dance of deception: A guide to authenticity and truth-telling in women’s relationships.