The best way to honor March as National Women’s History Month is to honor the heroines of change, acknowledge the barriers and threats that continue, and support organizations that champion for women all year long.
Among those organizations are those that deal with violence against women.
Did you know that one in three women around the world experience interpersonal violence, most often at the hands of someone they know and trust? Intimate partner violence affects women from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Abusers are cunning when it comes to exerting power and control over victims through physical, emotional, or economic abuse.
It wasn’t long ago that abuse was viewed as a “private family matter.” Fortunately — thanks to the tireless work of victim advocates — we have come a long way in dispelling common myths and misconceptions about abuse. Many still persist, however, especially with regard to the devastation of trauma.
The more we learn about the short- and long-term effects of trauma, the better equipped we are to serve victims, survivors, and their families.
Advancements in the field have helped us gain a greater understanding about trauma’s psychological and cognitive effects on victims, which include confusion, memory lapses, flashbacks, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
The impact of trauma does not simply disappear when the event is over. In a culture that perpetually pushes a “get over it and move on” mindset, victims often believe they should be able to go it alone. But recovering from trauma takes intensive and personalized support. It is a process that involves shifting victims from a place of fear, shame, and self-blame to a place of safety, autonomy, and self-empowerment.
On the journey of recovery, survivors and those who support them need to understand that healing takes time.
Organizations that advocate for victims of violence are often small, but mighty. They work with limited budgets to not only provide direct care for victims and their families, but to build awareness and bring about social change in the communities they serve.
These organizations operate throughout the country in urban, suburban and rural settings. They provide emergency shelter, meals, clothing, counseling, legal advocacy, and long-term transitional housing programs. They help protect vulnerable victims and their children who have nowhere else to turn.
You can support a victim’s advocacy group this month by:
- Making a financial donation
- Sponsoring a nonprofit’s fundraising event
- Volunteering for in-person or online projects
- Organizing a collection drive for much-needed supplies & essentials
Your contribution will help victims regain a sense of dignity and self-worth, and empower them to lead fulfilling and enriching lives.
Bobette Schrandt is the President & CEO of LACASA Center, an independent nonprofit organization in Michigan that provides critical support for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. All services for victims and their families are confidential and provided at no charge.
Learn more at lacasacenter.org.