Delaware looks to raise domestic violence awareness in October [video]

(Paul Parmalee/WHYY)

(Paul Parmalee/WHYY)

As people begin to think pink and focus on breast cancer awareness this month, October also brings attention to the color purple and domestic violence.

The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence along with advocates joined Gov. Jack Markell on Monday as he signed a proclamation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“I hope we can use this opportunity to make sure we are doing a better job of communicating about this (domestic violence) issue,” said Markell.

National statistics from the Centers of Disease Control show that one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

The issue certainly hits close to home to Miss Delaware 2014, Brittany Lewis who lost two relatives, including a sister to domestic violence.

“Why is this work so important? Because I could’ve never imagined in a million years that a woman so intelligent as my sister could have ever been a victim, but we must drop these stereotypes of what a victim of domestic violence looks, sounds and acts like,” said Lewis.

Lewis calls domestic violence an epidemic affecting people in all communities regardless of age, sexual orientation, race or religion. Miss Delaware even expressed concern about today’s society attack on the victim. Lewis said it’s time to stop asking victims questions like, “why don’t you just leave?”.

“We’re asking the wrong question, you don’t ask the victim, why they are victimized, you ask the batterer, why they batter,” Miss Delaware said.

As Miss Delaware and DCADV focus on raising awareness, there’s even a push at the University of Delaware to get more men involved with the issue.

According to Brian Eiermann, the UD Men’s Action Network was formed since the larger percent of offenders in domestic violence and intimate partner violent situations are men.

“We really encourage our members and male community in general to call out all kinds of violence,” said Eiermann who also pointed out that, despite statistics, the vast majority of men will not grow up to be involved in domestic violence.

Meanwhile in Delaware, thousands of residents are impacted by domestic violence. Last year, nearly 24-thousand related incidents were reported to law enforcements statewide and in family court, about 1,546 orders for Protection from Abuse were issued.

The issue of domestic violence, especially in light of some of the high profile cases that have taken place nationally, will be explored this Friday on First on WHYY-TV.

 

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