1 in 4 women will experience abuse in her lifetime.
That’s really where this post could end, but allow me to continue. Every 15 seconds, a woman is beaten. 4.8 million intimate partner-related acts of violence annually, and less than 20% of them receive medical care post-assault. A recent social experiment showed that many people still consider a certain amount of violence as acceptable when dealing with a perceived lower class of people.
From an early age, we’re taught not to stare, not to make a fuss, to mind our own damn business. We want to believe the best of the people we encounter in our day to day lives. We want our friends and relatives to be happy, so we believe them when they say they’re “Fine.”
I’ve been that person, who politely looked away, didn’t notice my friend’s injuries, believed flimsy excuses. Society makes it easy for us to look away from violence, even when it’s happening under our noses. Much later, she showed me the body-sized hole in her drywall, and it made my stomach turn. I wanted to put my fist through the wall alongside the spot where she’d landed, to go to the hardware store and patch over the place where love and trust had failed her, to do anything except stand mutely in front of the hole.
I was so angry for my friend. I was so deeply ashamed of myself for not recognizing abuse, for being so ill-equipped to help her.
This is my fourth year volunteering with the Chick Ball. I have a lot of reasons why I volunteer, but the most important reason is because I have seen too many wonderful people beaten and emotionally decimated by loved ones. I’ve heard too many excuses from strong, brilliant people about why their parent, sibling or partner is justified in treating them abominably.
Last year, the Chick Ball raised nearly $16,000 to help the CVP found a batterer’s intervention program (the first of its kind in Jackson) to work with abusers who want to make good on their promises of “never again.” Studies have shown 15 percent of those who completed an abuse intervention program were rearrested for domestic violence, compared with 37 percent of those who dropped out of the program.
2010′s efforts will provide seed money for a Victim’s Legal Fund. Justice may be blind, but toll is steep. When victims leave their abusers, their resources are stretched thin. Victims often don’t have the money necessary to take their abusers to court: to fight for full custody of their children.
All seriousness aside, the Chick Ball is hugely fun without diminishing the gravity of the issue at hand. We need volunteers in all aspects of planning and execution of the event (JULY 24), and you meet amazing, motivated, formidable women. If you can’t volunteer, please consider donating artwork or goods for door prizes and silent auction pieces, or even sponsorship ($50 is our base level of sponsorship.) Above all, just come and enjoy the fruits of our labor.