Ok, as I always note, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, or as Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence has recoined it “Domestic Violence Action Month” and they provide various ways you can become involved in your community to talk about the issues and to support domestic violence victims, survivors and advocates. Check out https://wscadv.org/dvam/ for downloadable window signs for supportive businesses, suggested calendars and activities to start the conversation, social media banners, etc.
Grays Harbor County has had a domestic violence homicide in both 2016 and 2017. And anecdotally, from our work, and the work of local providers and law enforcement, I assure you domestic violence remains prevalent in our community, along with sexual assault and child abuse.
Nationally, U.S. Senate Resolution 566 in September 2016 acknowledged (according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics):
• 1 in 5 women, and up to 1 in 7 men in the U.S have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner;
• on average, three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner every day in the U.S.;
• National Domestic Violence Counts Census found during one day during September 2015, more than 71,828 victims of domestic violence received services, but 12,197 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of funding and resources; and in September 2016, the count was 72,959 and 11,991, respectively.
To seek help, please contact:
• Domestic Violence Center of Grays Harbor County / (360) 538-0733 (Facebook)
• Crisis Support Network in Pacific County / (800) 435-7276 / www.crisis-support.org
• Connections / (360) 249-0005 / http://www.ghcac.org/
• Beyond Survival / (360) 533-9751 / (888) 626-2640 / http://www.ghbeyondsurvival.com/
• Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence / www.wscadv.org
• Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline / (800) 562-6025 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
• National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
October also recognizes this as a time to raise awareness through National Bullying Prevention, National Disability Employment Awareness, Global Diversity, and LGBT History. I long for a day when no month need be designated for any issue relating to equality and access; however, until then, I continue to poke, prod and cajole family, friends, foes, and the occasional stranger to consider striking up conversations about issues that we may find uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or downright scary.
I find it remarkable how many people, from the left, middle and right claim and assume they are unbiased about these and other issues, but I challenge you to start the conversation. First, try a little self-reflection work to identify your implicit biases, which are prejudices we hold unconsciously and unintentionally, that operate automatically. Implicit bias does not make you a racist, sexist, ageist, etc. Researchers have found most, if not all, of us have some implicit bias, even if they are a member of the “non-preferred” group, as with the Brown v. Board doll test where both white and black children preferred white dolls over black dolls.
Are you uncomfortable? Good.
Test your implicit bias by taking a range of the Implicit Association Tests regarding race, age, religion, gender, disability, weight, and other stereotypes. Reflect, start a conversation. Take the tests again in six months or a year. You may find by bringing the bias out of your subconscious may help you be more conscientious in the future.
Go to: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html. Take at least three tests. I DARE YOU!
To find out if you are eligible for Northwest Justice Project services:
For cases including youth (Individualized Education Program and school discipline issues), debt collection cases and tenant evictions, please call for a local intake appointment at (360) 533-2282 or toll free (866) 402-5293. No walk-ins, please.
For all other legal issues, please call our toll-free intake and referral hotline commonly known as “CLEAR” (Coordinated Legal Education Advice and Referral) at 1-888-201-1014, Mondays through Fridays 9:10 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. If you are a senior, 60 and over, please call 1-888-387-7111; you may be eligible regardless of income. Language interpreters are available. You can also complete an application for services at nwjustice.org/get-legal-help. Be sure to also check out our law library at: www.washingtonlawhelp.org.