During a public appearance on September 30th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown took the time to refute some harmful myths about intimate partner violence, while also disclosing that she herself has experienced domestic abuse. We applaud Governor Kate Brown for her courage in coming out as a survivor of domestic violence and are grateful for her leadership on this vital issue.
Domestic violence affects people of all genders, across the socioeconomic spectrum, and of all education levels. It is not rooted in anger or alcohol, but an abuser’s choice to use of violence and coercion to maintain power and control over another person. A report recently released by The Women’s Foundation of Oregon revealed that 1 million women and girls in Oregon have experienced domestic or sexual violence, which represents a staggering public health epidemic. These numbers illustrate the urgent need for robust advocacy and support services for survivors of abuse, improved coordination and partnership with healthcare professionals, law enforcement, DHS and other social service agencies, as well as far-reaching community outreach and education initiatives rooted in the principles of primary prevention.
For those who would like to learn more and help raise awareness: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the state of Oregon and throughout the United States. You can help raise awareness about domestic violence with our educational and marketing materials for Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2016, available at: www.ocadsv.org/dvam2016
Together we can unite our friends, family members, neighbors, and peers in support of healthy relationships. Further, unhealthy relationships are never deserved, and never the survivor’s fault. It is the responsibility of the community to hold perpetrators of violence accountable, in accordance with the wishes and well-being of the survivor. Ultimately, by listening to and believing survivors, like Governor Kate Brown, we can break the cycles of violence in our communities.
UPDATE 2016-10-05: Clarified that domestic abuse is rooted in a perpetrator’s decision to use violence and coercion to maintain power and control over victim(s).