“Whether you are rich or poor, famous or not, young or old–domestic violence does not discriminate,” says NOW President Kim Gandy.
The recent arrest of R&B star Chris Brown, who reportedly assaulted and threatened singer Rihanna, preventing her participation in the Grammys, has brought the ever-present issue of violence against women into the public spotlight once again.
“Everyone is talking about this case because it involves two popular recording artists, but the sad reality is that domestic violence and dating violence happen every day, even among young teens, and the impact is both far-reaching and under-reported,” said Gandy.
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) approximately 1,200 women a year — three every day — die in the United States as a result of domestic violence. NNEDV says one-quarter of high school girls have been the victims of physical abuse, and approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year. According to experts, young children who have witnessed violence, or been victims of violent acts, are at even greater risk of committing violence in their own relationships.
But sadly, our national conscience is tapped by the media mostly when high profile people are involved or the details of the crime are particularly horrific. Our collective dialogue, showcased by the media, needs to include the insights of advocates, doctors, lawyers, nurses, police officers, judges, social workers, and most importantly survivors. Until we focus on ending all forms of violence in a concerted effort, informed by accurate media coverage, we do a disservice to all of the women and girls who suffer and to those who survive.
“When it involves public figures, domestic violence gets attention — but what about the rest of us? We just watched the Senate attempt to cut the very modest Violence Against Women Act funding from the economic recovery package, in order to attract Republican support,” said Gandy. “The Senate negotiators eventually rejected those cuts, but only after massive outcry by the anti- violence community. This attempt to defund VAWA programs failed to recognize that family and acquaintance violence increases when individuals and families are under stress. In this economy, abuse victims will need support and services more than ever. Even better, let’s make sure there is added funding for prevention as well.”
The National Organization for Women has fought for more than four decades to combat all forms of violence against women. NOW will be working to strengthen and increase the funding of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to further prevent and address violence.