October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) affects all levels of society and can manifest itself in many different forms. Physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse are all forms of IPV. Emotional abuse can often escalate to physical forms of abuse. Threats and emotional abuse often prevent the victim from reporting IPV. Furthermore, victims make excuses for the abusers’ behavior because of shame and fear.
In 2007, there were 2340 confirmed deaths resulting from IPV. That number represents 14 percent of all homicides in the United States – 70 percent were female. Domestic violence is also the leading cause of workplace fatalities for women.
In 2003, there were 11,562 reported cases of domestic violence in Montana. The actual number is significantly higher. In 2015, the Montana Legislature passed HB306. This bill provides up to 28 weeks of unemployment insurance for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking who have to leave their jobs for their own safety or the safety of their family.
Domestic violence has been a silent epidemic for too long. It is not a “private” issue or a “family” issue. It’s wrong and it needs to be stopped. Please do your part to support legislation giving protection to victims of domestic violence.