Football is back in full swing. Halloween candy is starting to line store shelves. It's Pumpkin Spice season again. October may seem like a month full of fall fun, but it is also a month designated to shed light on a serious issue that affects all of our communities.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to a national survey, 35.6% of women and 28.5% of men in the U.S. reported experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Domestic violence affects people of all races, cultures, income levels, occupations, and ages. The Asian community is no exception with 41-61% of Asian women report experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime according to the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence. Domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a serious problem that impacts not only the direct victim but those around them and even greater society as well. Over 3 million children witness domestic violence each year, and research of several ethnic Asian communities have shown high rates of children's exposure to domestic violence. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely than their peers to have delayed academic successes, to have self-esteem and behavioral issues including delinquencies and substance abuse, and to become abusers themselves as adults. In addition, domestic violence costs the U.S. economy over $8.3 billion a year due to related absences, dispatching of local police, and other costs resulting from abuse.
Although domestic violence awareness has come a long way over the past few decades, stubborn myths persist and hinder our progress towards the elimination of this terrible crime. One particularly harmful myth is the notion that domestic abuse victims can "just leave" if they really wanted to. This line of thinking not only blames the victim for his/her abuse but also fails to acknowledge the various methods of manipulation and control that the abuser deploys to prevent the victim from leaving.
The Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse campaign seeks to shed light on financial abuse, an invisible weapon that abusers frequently use to prevent their victims from leaving the relationship. Domestic violence victims often cite their lack of financial resources and employment as obstacles that keep them from walking away. The reason that victims do not have sufficient financial resources or a job they can rely on to support themselves (and often their children) is because abusers very deliberately prevent their victims from gaining access to or accumulating financial resources or obtaining a job. In this way, financial abuse traps domestic violence victims in an abusive relationship.
Many immigrant women and others with limited English proficiency face even greater challenges in obtaining the resources necessary to leave their abusers. They may not have the language skills that would allow them to obtain a sufficient job that would support all their needs, even if they were no other obstacles. They may not have the right identification and documents to open a bank account or the credit history to obtain assistance from mainstream financial institutions.
For the third year in a row, AACS has been selected as a partner to participate in the Purple Purse campaign. The campaign will run through October 25, and AACS aims to raise $3,500 for our Family Support Program (FSP) which serves domestic violence survivors with comprehensive services including safety planning, legal and medical advocacy, emergency material assistance, and client education and empowerment. Please consider supporting our survivors with a donation at
It is my hope that this campaign will raise more than funds that will support our services for survivors. I hope that it will raise awareness in our community about the realities of domestic violence and the practical needs of survivors. And I hope that through this awareness, more survivors can take the first step of empowerment by reaching out to seek out the services they need.
I just ran my second 5K race last weekend, and on my way reaching to the finish line, I saw a sign that said: "It is not the finish time that matters, it is reaching the finish line matters!" I don't think that helping survivors has a timeline or is a matter of the amount of time we spend on the efforts; what matters is the fact we continue to fight and continue to save, and knowing that more survivors are safe because of my efforts. Please join me this month in supporting the Purple Purse Campaign!