Every year, Umbrella participates in the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in order to shed light on the pervasive issue that faces our community and to offer pathways towards healing and justice. This year we are reflecting on where we have been and where we still need to go to eradicate domestic violence.
In the mid to late 70s when Umbrella was being formed in St. Johnsbury, calling out the issue of domestic violence – which was still considered a “family matter”— was paramount. The issue was taboo and abuse that happened “behind closed doors” was only just emerging as something to be dealt with in the public sphere.
Fast forward to 2020, half a century later. In all of that time, there must have been major drops in the occurrence of domestic violence fatalities, right?
Unfortunately, that has simply not been the case. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 10 million people in the US are abused by their partners each year. In a study issued by the Centers for Disease Control covering the timeframe 2003-2014, over half (55%) of murders of women were intimate partner violence related. A much smaller percentage of men - 5-7% - were killed by intimate partners over the same timeframe, highlighting the fact that gender plays a central role in this public health issue.