Speaking out against domestic violence

WORD_dayofthedead_Memorial_5.jpgSpeaking out

For Día de los Muertos, Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD) in San Francisco joined the Day of the Dead procession through the Mission with our “feminist noise.” The action was to add the call for justice and remembrance of those who have experienced domestic and gender violence to this march of honoring the dead. Women came together to raise their drums and voices to demand “No queremos machos que nos asesinen! We don’t want your sexism; no more gender violence!”, “Mujeres, Latinas, siempre unidas!” and “Women united will never be defeated!” At Garfield Park, WORD had an altar dedicated to those who have lost their lives die to gender violence and to those who have fought and who continue to fight violence against women. Many stopped by to look at, take pictures and add candles to the memorial.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior to establish and exert control and power over an intimate partner or other family members. It is not just physical violence. It can also be emotional, economic, sexual, verbal, stalking or a combination of these. The goal is always the same: power over another person.

Approximately every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States. One in three women is a victim of physical violence by a partner in their lifetime. One in seven women have been stalked by a partner to the point where they were afraid for their safety or the safety of loved ones. 76% of intimate partner violence victims are women.

The statistics are staggering. Millions have been stalked, usually by their current or former partners. The majority of women who are sexually assaulted know their attacker. Only about one-third of those who are injured by domestic violence seek medical care. Pregnant women or women who recently gave birth face a higher risk of being victimized by escalating violence. In the end, those who struggle to survive these attacks lose days of work, lose their jobs, are forced to move, consider or attempt suicide and/or suffer from PTSD.

Three women are murdered in the U.S. each day by their partners. Almost 40% of all female homicides are committed by a partner. The numbers of women who are killed after getting restraining orders are tragic. One in five homicide victims with a restraining order are killed within the first month. When women leave violent situations, escaping from under the power of their partner, they are at a 75% higher risk of death for the first two years after leaving.

In truth, these facts are just a drop in the bucket of the violence that women in these situations face. These circumstances are far too common.

Standing with women

There are many reasons women stay in abusive situations, and many reasons for when they choose to leave. She is not the one at fault for what happens. 

On the other hand, we stand firmly against all those who engage in every form of gender violence from domestic violence to rape, from street harassment to hate crimes against transwomen and others from the LGBTQ community. These are all in addition to the myriad ways in which women are systematically oppressed in workplaces, health care, childcare, education and more. We stand against this system of patriarchy that says women are “less than” and has long allowed, even encouraged, violence against women. We stand up and raise our voices for the women who have struggled for survival, who should be released from prison for defending themselves, and those who have lost their lives to violence.

While we have marched this November to honor and remember those we have lost, we continue the fight forward for equality. We march saying “No more gender violence!” because we are tired and angry at watching our sisters fall. We know that we do not have to accept that this is “just the way things are.” If we unite and stand together, we can find justice. Join us in the fight.