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Staggering numbers

Published on -6/24/2012, 12:38 PM

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Staggering numbers

Options: Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Inc. received a donation from city of Victoria in the amount of $600 for fiscal year 2012. This donation is extremely beneficial in providing life-saving advocacy services for domestic, dating, sexual violence and stalking survivors.

Survivors in rural counties can face enormous obstacles in receiving services as detailed in the Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey report released May 1. Detailed national findings from the report reveal alarming trends in light of the economy's decline since 2008. The report identifies that demand for help is up -- services, funding and prevention programs are down.

On average, three women a day are murdered at the hands of someone who claims to love them. Domestic violence shelters across the country can mean the difference between life and death. The survey's overwhelming trends are remarkably similar in each region of the United States and are listed below.

* More than 730 domestic violence shelters across the country were recently surveyed.

* 78 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide (nearly eight of 10) report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse.

* 74 percent of survivors stayed with an abusive partner longer because of financial issues.

* 58 percent of shelters reported that the abuse is more violent now than before 2008.

* 87 percent of domestic violence shelters (nearly nine out of ten) expect their overall situation during the next 12 months will be worse than now, or the same as now, due to the economy.

* 95 percent reported that survivors needed to stay in shelters for longer durations of time.

* Of shelters that were forced to reduce services, 47 percent decreased childcare efforts, which meant that they were not able to help one in four children.

* 86 percent of shelters witnessed negative social effects on children such as bullying or withdrawal.

* 62 percent reported that young women (age 12 to 24) are requesting help in greater numbers.

* 92 percent of shelters had to end or scale back specific programs and services.

Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc. vice president and Mary Kay Foundation SM board member said, "The report represents more than staggering numbers -- it signifies lives in the balance."

Crews also said, "The truth about abuse is that survivors and their children continue to feel the negative effects of the economy in profound ways. This crime is a community issue. Individuals and businesses must get involved in efforts to educate, prevent and eventually end domestic violence."

The full report is available at tinyurl.com/d5l7xuz.

Options is grateful to the city council for recognizing, as Crews said, the crimes of violence are a community issue and for helping to ensure advocacy services can be available to all Victoria citizens.

Charlotte A. Linsner, Options executive director

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