We all are aware of domestic violence. Even if it has not affected us directly, we see the fallout in the news and social media all too often. I will be the first to tell you that I haven’t really thought about it that much. I’m not a violent person and at least to my knowledge, my circle of friends and family have not been subjected to domestic violence neither. But, that’s the thing! Domestic violence is not a conversation topic, especially for those in its midst. Statistics show that the chances of you interacting with a victim of domestic violence during your daily routine is very high, if not certain.
*An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year.
*Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and reported it having a related impact on their functioning.
*Just under 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men in the US have been injured as a result of intimate partner violence that included rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
The above list of statistics is just a snippet of the astounding data behind domestic violence. As mentioned previously, I am very aware of the issue of domestic violence, but the statistics made it clear how little I really knew. Thankfully there are people and organizations that bring domestic violence issues to the front page. One of those organizations is the Center of Hope in Columbia, Tennessee.
Center of Hope is a refuge of peaceful existence providing innovative and compassionate direct advocacy, therapeutic counseling, and residential services to victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking. As a leading resource for system change, Center of Hope’s goal is to provide meaningful and effective support while addressing the attitudes and behaviors which allow violence to continue in our community. Our comprehensive program ensures that the needs of the victims we serve are met in a holistic and compassionate manner by equipping and empowering them with the skills they need to move beyond the trauma and onto the fulfilling lives they deserve.
I believe the Center of Hope is an asset to the local community. When the executive director ask me to shoot their ‘Light the Way’ lantern festival, I immediately saved the date. I love telling stories with pictures and this is a story that needs to be told!
I had a fun time. It appears those attending did as well. However, there was a somber cloud that draped over the event. The reality of domestic violence was literally spelled out on the t-shirts on display beneath the trees and on the shirts worn by family members. The memorial of lanterns were a striking reminder of the tragedy of domestic violence. I spoke to some victims and I learned about the ballot initiative to implement ‘Marsy’s Law’ in Tennessee. It was an eye opening day for me. Chances are that there is someone reading this that is a victim of domestic violence. It’s easy for me to say seek help, but I would encourage you to seek the help of organizations like the Center of Hope or just talk to a friend. You deserve a life without abuse. The people who really care about you, won’t abuse you! Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Follow me a Shuttering Thru Life to catch my next photographic venture.