The incidence of domestic and sexual violence is overwhelming. The intractable nature of the problem can be paralyzing. It is easy to feel helpless–but we don’t have to be.
Thanks to the (mostly) women who have tirelessly worked over the years to establish a strong network of support services for victims of abuse. Hotlines exist in every community that make it easier for victims of abuse to ask for help. While these crimes are still dramatically underreported, and we still have a great deal of work to do to ensure that victims are believed and supported, it is safer now than it has ever been for victims to speak out about their abuse. Pennsylvania has been a leader in developing domestic violence shelters and rape crisis programs, improving police response, pioneering best practices in the courts, and providing counseling and advocacy. And, we must continue to advocate for adequate funding to support these essential services.
But we must do more.
We cannot build enough women’s shelters to end violence against women. We cannot focus only on helping girls and women reduce their risk of being raped and beaten. We need to stop gender-based violence from happening in the first place. Domestic violence and sexual assault are completely preventable crimes.
While men perpetrate most of these crimes, only a small minority of men abuse women. Across the globe and here in southwest PA, men in our communities are standing up and speaking out against violence against women.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are completely preventable crimes. Across southwest Pennsylvania, community leaders and thousands of concerned citizens are coming together to take action to end violence against women.
FISA Foundation and The Heinz Endowments developed Southwest PA Says NO MORE to showcase the important prevention-focused work happening here, and to make it easier for individuals and organizations to take action to stop gender-based violence.
This is an incredibly hopeful and exciting time. Will you join us?