October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), a designation that provides education for our communities about the prevalence of abuse, encourages people to take action to end abuse, and emphasizes options and resources available to survivors. Originally passed in 1989 by Congress from the origins of Day of Unity that began in 1981, today DVAM celebrates thirty years of advocacy and support.
Last month, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence honored me with the Equity Award for my extensive work on the issue of domestic violence in the last 20 years. In that time, my work focused on advocating for both women and men abused by their intimate partners. My own personal experiences of domestic violence galvanized me towards advocacy and a lifetime commitment to eradicate this enormous problem within our society.
Domestic violence statistics demonstrate how pervasive it is in our communities.
10% of teenagers are intentionally harmed by someone they are dating.
Every 15 seconds, one woman is beaten by her husband or partner in the United States.
One in four women experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
While women represent 85% of the domestic violence victims, the story of the remaining 15% is often diminished. Domestic violence also affects men and disproportionatelymen in same-sex relationships.
Despite great strides in education, awareness, and safety in the last thirty years, we still have an enormous amount of work ahead of us. My experience as a domestic violence survivor and as Vice-chairwoman of the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, among other boards and committees, has endowed me with strength and leadership skills. These tools are essential to serving as an effective and dedicated leader as your next San Jose City Councilmember for District 9.
Words are the hardest yet most powerful channel we have within us. It is daunting to share our words as a survivor but is encouraging to empower people by elevating our stories. I will continue to advocate for survivors of domestic violence and help reluctant survivors speak publicly because the very act of speaking and sharing is truly the pathway to change.