Every seven minutes.
That’s the frequency of calls to the domestic violence hotlines.
But it’s not the most alarming statistic.
Boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are twice as like to grow up to be the abuser. And girls who witness these acts are likely to end up in similar relationships when they become women and mothers.
One in every four women in West Virginia has been or will be the victim of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. And every day an average of three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
It’s a crime that targets young and old, rich and poor, every social class, men and women.
It’s not just the abuser’s target who is a victim. More than 3 million children witness domestic violence each year in the U.S., and studies suggest witnessing violence as a child can lead to depression, trauma-related symptoms and low self-esteem as adults.
And it’s a vicious cycle that we must stop.
As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October serves as a chance to shed light on the key issues surrounding domestic violence, its victims and legislation aimed at protecting those in harm’s way.
For the person being abused, seeking help is often the first — and most crucial — step toward safety. The following agencies can help: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233); Common Ground Sanctuary (800-231-1127); and Haven (877-922-1274).
Help is also available in West Virginia thanks to a bill referred to as Celena’s Law, which creates the misdemeanor crime of unlawful restraint. It was signed into law last year. In addition to protecting victims of domestic violence, it provides law-enforcement officers with an additional tool to combat the damage caused by abusers.
Conviction brings up to a year in jail and a $500 fine, or both.
“October is a month to remember and celebrate the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said Athena Stima, adult/children’s case manager and volunteer coordinator at HOPE Inc., the local domestic violence shelter. “It is also the month to reinforce the community’s awareness of domestic violence and to provide education on its prevention.”
HOPE offers emergency shelter, supportive services, advocacy, professional counseling, community education, children’s programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and a 24- hour hotline.
We need to recognize how serious and widespread this problem is, not just in October, but year-round. We need to support legislation that protects victims and expands definitions of abuse, as well as increase the penalties for offenders. We need to volunteer and financially support programs and shelters like HOPE, a United Way agency, as they battle to break the cycle of domestic violence each and every day.
We strongly encourage those who are affected by domestic violence as well as those who wish to volunteer their time to call the HOPE Inc. hotline at 304-367-1100.
We can make a difference in the lives of women and children who are afraid, hurting and who need help more than we will ever know. We can teach that love is patient and love is kind. It doesn’t use fists or threats or angry words that hurt.
We’ll offer one more statistic. In the time it took you to read this piece, 17 calls were made to a domestic violence hotline.
Every seven minutes.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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