Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a prompt to be thankful for homes that are safe and offer assistance where they are not. The pandemic has isolated everyone driving us into closer and sustained proximity to family. In households where those intimate relationships are unsafe, especially for women and girls, a bad situation has been made worse. Even before the pandemic, the data documenting violence against women was cause for grave concern and action. One in two women killed worldwide in 2017 were killed by their partners or family (while one in 20 men were killed under similar circumstances). One in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres pulls no punches: “Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination …. The inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalances.” To learn how you can help or to get help see the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (rvap.uiowa.edu and dvipiowa.org) or National Alliance on Mental Illness (namilinncounty.org). See also the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (unwomen.org).
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