October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and every year I share with you astounding statistics about domestic violence in our state, our country and our world. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that domestic violence in our country is not declining. The report is shocking, so take a seat, I don’t want you to fall down, and read today’s message.
One in every 3 women in CA experiences intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking some time during her life;
About 35% of these women are pregnant. Domestic violence during pregnancy is the biggest cause of birth defects;
In CA, on any single day, domestic violence shelters serve almost 5,800 women and children; that means in a year, there are 2,157,000 seeking the protection of a shelter. If you wonder why we make so many comfort scarves, that’s the reason;
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes in CA;
A recent study found one in 5 homicide victims with temporary protective orders are murdered within two days of obtaining the order; one in 3 are murdered within the first month;
72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims in these crimes are female;
In CA, homicides in general decreased between 2009 and 2011, but homicides related to domestic violence increased 11%. Murder is the epitome of domestic violence;
The presence of a gun in the home during a domestic violence incident increases the risk of homicide by at least 500%; in households with a history of domestic violence, the risk increases 2,000%.
An important issue raised by the above data is the increase in gun use during domestic violence incidents. While the 1994 Violence Against Women Act banned gun ownership for people with permanent restraining orders (you can see from the data above that restraining orders are almost useless) due to intimate-partner violence, this law has a loophole: offenders are not allowed to own guns, but they’re not explicitly compelled to give up guns they already have.
CA has addressed this loophole by requiring those convicted of domestic violence abuse to give up ALL their firearms. The NRA has vehemently prevented the passage of similar laws in other states and has prevented research to find out the effect these laws have on deaths during domestic violence incidents. LA TIMES reporter Amina Khan, recently wrote about the work of Michael Siegel, an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health. He found that in states like CA, which require offenders to give up their guns, the intimate-partner homicide rate from 1991 to 2015 dropped 14% while in states that simply banned gun possession, the homicide rate hardly dropped at all.
If you’re ready for more to think about, read on:
CA law enforcement agencies receive almost 175,000 domestic violence-related calls per year although most incidents are not reported. 40% of reported incidents involve weapons;
On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive 21,000 calls;
Rape crisis centers serve almost 32,000 survivors of sexual violence.
Every year since we started, Handmade Especially for You delivers 11,000 to 12,000 comfort scarves for abused women, 3,000 hats for their children, and 1,000 baby items. Our hard work barely addresses the need.
We understand that the items we make cannot solve or cure the negative impact of domestic violence on the women and children who experience it. We hope our comfort scarves will alleviate some of the terrible pain domestic violence causes. The comfort scarves for the women and the hats we make for the kids are a START. They help the women and children know we care about them. They lift their spirits, raise their self-esteem, and give them hope that someday they may have a life without abuse. Directors at the almost 70 shelters we serve use these hopeful moments to encourage women to begin the education and therapy that will help them live an abuse-free life.
The holiday season is just around the corner. We usually deliver 3,000 scarves and 1,000 hats to the shelters in time for their holiday parties. We want to do that this year. That’s where you come in. We have plenty of hats to fulfill our requests but we really need more scarves. PLEASE. I know how many of you have scarves in your “to do” pile, waiting to knit the last rows or to weave in the ends. JUST DO IT. When you finish, drop off your scarves at:
Concepts in Yarn
24520 Hawthorne Bl Suite 100
Torrance CA 90505
Or mail them to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
Once we receive your scarves, our dedicated volunteers will wrap them with colorful curling ribbons, pack them, and ship them to the shelters where they will bring smiles and hope.
Thank you for all you have done for abused women and their children in the past and all you will do in the future. With our October shipping, we will reach the landmark of 100,000 scarves distributed since we began at the end of 2008. We want to celebrate reaching this landmark with a celebration at Concepts in Yarn, the shop that sponsored us from the very first day. Please join us on October 21, 2017, 1-4 p.m. We will have a slide show that features important events in Handmade’s history as well as cards from our donors and participants. Perhaps you’ll see yourself or something you made in it. In addition, we will serve a sweet table to thank all our “sweet” volunteers for all you do for Handmade and for abused women and their children.