Domestic violence. Sexual assault. Trauma. Abuse. Maybe you rarely think about these forms of violence or perhaps you’re intimately familiar with violence and the impact it has in the lives of women, kids and families every day. Either way, you can’t ignore the recent local and national news headlines that have brought domestic violence and sexual assault into the public eye. Many of us are horrified by Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice who was banned from the NFL for a brutal physical assault on his then-fiancée. And in our community, we’ve heard about the female jogger who was raped in the Edgewater neighborhood.
These examples made the headlines; but the truth is domestic and sexual violence are enormous issues facing our community every single day. In Cuyahoga County 80,000 out of 565,000 women have been raped (that’s one in seven); one of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. It’s an epidemic, a widespread occurrence and a disease plaguing our community. Unlike the flu epidemic, there is no vaccine for sexual violence. There is no medicine to protect women or children from being victimized. And there is no quick fix to this problem.
United Way’s goal is to help reduce domestic and sexual violence and get to the root causes. We support programs that teach teens and adults how to engage in healthy relationships. It will take time to achieve our goal and build a healthy and resilient community where women and kids are safe, but we cannot afford to ignore this epidemic any longer. View the video below to see how youth right here in Northeast Ohio are effecting social change and addressing this critical issue.
Interpersonal violence thrives under a veil of silence, shame and secrecy. We encourage you to talk about domestic and sexual violence and their impact on all our lives with your family, friends and colleagues. It’s not a light conversation, but you don’t have to address it alone. If you are seeking help with domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma and abuse, please call the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Hotline at 216-619-6192, the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center Helpline at 216-391-HELP or United Way 2-1-1 .
Flu season comes and goes, but violence plagues our community all year long. You can be a part of the solution:
- Give: Donate to United Way to support programs that reduce violence
- Advocate: Raise awareness by talking with friends and family about domestic and sexual violence
- Volunteer: Donate your time and talent to help United Way and our partners build a healthy and resilient community