October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence was already an epidemic before COVID-19, but the health crisis has caused a tremendous spike in incidents of abuse. Even as lockdown restrictions are lifted, the abuse will not simply end. It remains a critical time for survivors, and greater awareness, education, and bystander intervention are desperately needed. The time when domestic violence is the most lethal is when the person is trying to leave the situation. That’s why this October and every month going forward we ask you to join the City of Mount Vernon in sharing information that can help those who are experiencing violence during this unprecedented time. For those who are seeking help or know those in need of assistance, a list of Domestic Violence partners to help protect those who are vulnerable is available at https://women.westchestergov.com/domestic-violence.
Between the pandemic of racial injustice, COVID-19 and the longstanding disparities it has highlighted, and the increased visibility of domestic violence and isolation of survivors due to physical distancing measures, it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the widespread injustice that we are experiencing in the world right now.
We are encouraging everyone to listen for abuse and, if necessary, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1–800–799–7233) if you want advice, and call the police if you hear somebody getting hurt, or if you think their life is at risk. Many children will also suffer — maybe witnessing the abuse for the first time and having nowhere to escape. We all know the devastating effects that this can have on both their current mental health and their growth into adults. Please, share this message with all your friends and contacts — so that the abusers know we are watching, and their actions will not go unnoticed.
If you know or suspect that somebody suffers from domestic violence, please contact them, and keep that vital line of support open. This is one disease where washing our hand's amounts to indifference. We cannot ignore the neighbor who is shouting or the sister who is crying on the phone. We must do all we can to help those who may feel desperate. We are one community, we are one Mount Vernon.