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HUNNEMAN: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In a month bathed in pink, often times another serious issue — that also impacts mostly women — doesn’t always get the attention it needs and deserves.

In addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The observance was first held 26 years ago and evolved out of a National Day of Unity held in October 1981 sponsored by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence — http://www.ncadv.org .

Here are just a few:

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

In 70 to 80 percent of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

For a variety of reasons, fear, shame, economic, etc… domestic violence is chronically under reported. Only one-quarter of physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes and one-half all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to police.

Progress has been made in recently years to increase the public’s awareness of domestic violence issues

In Nov. 2012 study for the Blue Shield of California Foundation was conducted to better understand the public’s perception of domestic violence.

“We were surprised to learn a study like this hadn’t been done in California in quite some time,” said Christine Maulhardt, communications director for the foundation.

The survey of 900 adults in California found that almost everyone (98 percent) believes domestic violence can happen to anyone and two-thirds (66 percent) said they had a friend or family member who had been a victim of domestic violence.

Studies reported two decades earlier indicated only about one third of respondents were aware of domestic violence involving someone they knew.

The 2012 survey also found more than nine out of 10 adults (97 percent) believe children who have been exposed to domestic violence are more likely to have mental health and anger management problems.

In addition, adults overwhelmingly (89 percent) think it is appropriate to teach high school students about violence and dating abuse while most (82 percent) said that kind of instruction should begin in middle school.

However the study also found just 23 percent of Californians were aware that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Locally the nonprofit organization Safe Alternatives For Everyone has been providing assistance for domestic violence victims and programs for children, youth and families since 1998.

“SAFE sees many individuals who do not report the crime in fear of being hurt or murdered,” said Melissa Donaldson, the nonprofit group’s long-time executive director.  ”It is a constant battle to get the word out about the prevalence of domestic violence, the horror it inflicts on children and their fmailies and where to go for help.”

The group has several upcoming events to raise funds and bring awareness to the community.

The “Rocktober Masquerade Wine Dinner” is set for Thursday Oct. 24 at Baily’s restaurant in Old Town Temecula and the 3 annual Swing for S.A.F.E. golf tournament is set for Nov. 1 at the Legends Golf Club at Temeku in Temecula

In addition, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, S.A.F.E. will hold a community outreach event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Murrieta Springs 7th Day Adventist Church.

Donaldson will be the guest speaker and the church will be provide both dinner and babysitting in exchange for a small donation. If you plan to attend you are asked to R.S.V.P. by Oct 10 to lifemurrieta@gmail.com.

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