In November, the United Nations (U.N.) released a report that led to shocking headlines: home is the most dangerous place for women. According to the U.N., around 87,000 women were killed around the world in 2017. Approximately 50,000 of those women — or 58% — were killed by intimate partners or family members. This translates to 6 women being killed every hour by people they know. With numbers like these, it is little wonder that the U.N. has concluded that home is the least safe place for women across the world.
While it may be tempting to shrug off these numbers as attributable to violence that happens elsewhere, the reality is that here in the United States, the percentage of women killed by intimate partners is roughly the same. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 55% of female homicide victims in 2016 were related to intimate partner violence. The vast majority of those homicides were carried out by a male partner. In Pennsylvania, there were 117 deaths related to domestic violence in 2017. This includes 58 women killed by a current or former intimate partner.
Both globally and locally, women are not safe from the threat of violence — and far too often, that violence leads to murder. A recent Washington Post article examined how domestic violence is linked to homicide. In many cases, the perpetrators were known to be a threat before killing their current or former partners.
The question then becomes what we do about this reality. Knowing that levels of intimate partner violence remain high, how can we make a change? At Blackburn Center, we often say that peace begins at home: how do we achieve that if home is the most dangerous place for women?
The answer lies in the saying itself: peace begins at home. We each play a role in reducing violence in our society, regardless of whether we personally engage in violence. Through our words and actions, we can help to reduce the culture that has allowed violence to flourish.
How do we accomplish this? Here are a list of suggestions:
Speak out if you hear another person being disrespectful to women or girls;
Refuse to buy, watch, or listen to media that objectifies or degrades women or girls;
Listen to women and be an ally to women who are working to end gender-based violence;
Learn about gender norms, and challenge yourself not to reinforce these with the children and adults in your life;
Acknowledge the factors that lead to gender-based violence, including power imbalances and homophobia;
Mentor and teach boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women;
Never use violence in any form in your relationships;
Educate yourself about gender-based violence, including the root causes that lead to this type of violence;
Volunteer for Blackburn Center;
Donate to Blackburn Center.
This problem is not insurmountable. At Blackburn Center, we believe in primary prevention strategies, which seek to address the issues that lead to gender-based violence — rather than simply raising awareness about these problems after they have occurred. By joining our mission, you can be part of the solution, and help peace begin at home.
As always, we offer a range of services to victims of all types of violence, including domestic violence. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day: 1-888-832-2272 or 724-836-1122. Contact us anytime to learn more about how we can help.