Nearly one of every four women is raped or beaten by a partner. Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America, on average and approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year, but it's still not something people seem to talk about much.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Tuesday afternoon about 40 women, including some survivors, tossed flowers off the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to honor survivors of domestic violence who the YWCA has served this year. It was the seventh annual Flowers on the River event sponsored by the YWCA Northeast Indiana. Over the course of the month there will be several other events to raise awareness about domestic violence including Chalk It P to Awareness and Power of the Purple Purse.
Deborah Beckman, CEO/president of the YWCA said this year alone the agency has served 361 women in its emergency shelter for domestic violence victims: 238 children and 1 man. The total number of crisis-line calls received was 3,892.
From July 1, 2012, to June 30, two people died related to domestic violence in Allen County. Jacqueline Bouvier-Hardy was fatally shot by Kenneth King when he dragged her off a Fort Wayne Citilink bus in broad daylight, according to police. Knight was killed by officers during a standoff later that day.
Lori Rose, a domestic violence survivor, told her story Tuesday afternoon. In a quiet voice she said she had been shocked when she took a test to see how likely it was her partner would kill her and found she had a 60 percent chance. That knowledge helped to give her the strength to leave the relationship. She now has a dance team, the One Billion Rising Empowerment Crew, made up of survivors. Last spring she was behind the One Billion Rising event at Parkview Field. The dance troupe performed in the parking lot of the YWCA and soon after the women walked from the YWCA on Spy Run Avenue to the bridge on Clinton Street to cast their flowers into the water below. Each colorful carnation represented someone who has been helped this year by the YWCA.
A nonprofit organization, the YWCA operates as Indiana's oldest domestic violence shelter. The YWCA Northeast Indiana is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.