EASLEY — MARYS House held their annual candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence on Thursday, trading in their usual location in front of the Pickens Courthouse for the steps in front of Easley City Hall.
MARYS Board members were joined by members of the community, domestic violence survivors, advocates, Senator Rex Rice and Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark.
The event is held every October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Supporters wear purple and learn the warning signs for suspected abuse.
According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, the month spun from a “Day of Unity” held in October 1981.
The idea was put together by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) as a way to connect advocated across the country who were working to end violence against women and children.
“The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national level,” NCADV states.
The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived and connecting those who work to end violence, the agency states.
“In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline,” wrote an agency spokesperson. “In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Statistically speaking, 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, NCADV asserts.
Take that number down a little further and that translates to 1 in 3 women who have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. A quarter of those women have been victims of “severe” physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime and 1 in 7 women have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed
“On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide,” the agency states. “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.”
In fact, the agency states intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime and women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
Nineteen percent of domestic violence involves a weapon and domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.