The truth about domestic violence | Editorial

Every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

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.



Seeing these kind of numbers should be appalling, but sometimes they are just words on a page. What exactly do they represent?

Kim Bryan, the director of Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Services of the San Juans, shared the following story with us:

“The manager of a local island business called me with serious concerns because he believed one of his employees was experiencing violence at home and he felt helpless to know what to do.  I encouraged him to either have her call us or come by the office.  Two hours later he drove her to our office and waited in the car while she met with one of our confidential advocates. Now that she and her children are living an abuse-free life, she credits her employer for caring enough to ask the tough questions, find the resources and assist her with taking the steps necessary to break the cycle of abuse in her home. The manager called me just the other day and said, ‘When I called you the first time, I felt desperate and hopeless. Now I know there is hope because our community is lucky enough to have such an amazing resource like DVSAS.’”

It is difficult for many of us to accept that domestic violence and sexual assault occur in our special, safe island communities.

But since Jan. 1 of this year, DVSAS has provided 768 in-person advocacy services to 82 clients and provided assistance through 263 crisis calls on their 24/7 crisis lines.

If you know of anyone who might be in a harmful situation, encourage him or her to get help. The 24-hour crisis lines are as follows:

• Orcas, 376-1234

• San Juan, 378-2345

• Lopez, 468-4567

We feel that a key component to ending the cycle of violence starts with men. And after the overwhelming success of the 100 Stand Up Men Campaign in May of this year, many of those who donated money to DVSAS have stepped up to start “Stand Up Men Action Groups” on San Juan and Orcas.  These men have decided to invest their energy and time for “Violence Free Communities”.  They meet monthly to learn, organize and plan ways to engage their communities in the cause. We are so grateful for this new development.

Whatever you can do – whether it’s educating ourselves, donating money or helping someone in a dangerous situation – it all goes towards changing those statistics.