October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and during this time, advocates for survivors of domestic violence are challenged with raising public awareness about an issue that too seldom leaves the household. This month presents challenges like no other, as the trouble with our economy contributes to escalated violence and more families looking for support services.
As co-executive directors of the Elizabeth Stone House, we have seen first-hand the effects of a bad economy on those who suffer from the cycles of violence, trauma and homelessness. Domestic violence has traditionally been defined as a women’s issue, but, in reality, violence within the household spans across racial and economic boundaries and affects every member of the family. Since 1974, the Stone House has been helping women and children in the greater Boston area survive violence and emotional trauma by building safe, healthy and independent lifestyles.
During hard economic times, we all feel stressed. While many of us are worried about our retirement funds, the women, men and children we work with are worried about staying safe. Tragically for those we serve, stress increases incidents of violence in already dangerous households. As government cuts for social service programs loom, the number of people in need of shelter and supportive services is only going to increase.
The Elizabeth Stone House is committed to putting more than just a Band-Aid over the pain of these issues. We know that ending violence within the home takes a commitment to stopping violence before it starts—through advocacy, education and skill-building. We urge the general public to support us in raising awareness of the issues and maintaining the vital programs we offer.
Nancy Owens Hess and Evelyn Rivera Beaudreault
Elizabeth Stone House