Point of View: During Domestic Violence Awareness Month #1Thing can make all the difference

The state of Alaska has ranked number one for the past four years as the state with the highest rate of women being killed by an intimate partner. Every Alaskan regardless of age, race, culture, gender identification or status deserves to live free from harm and fear of domestic violence. It is common for survivors of domestic violence to endure lasting emotional and physical scars such as depression, substance abuse, interpersonal relationship struggles and personal low self-esteem.

South Peninsula Haven House seeks to make strides in raising awareness through outreach, intervention and prevention. Every day, Haven House reaffirms its mission and dedication to the women, children, men, and families of the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Most women will never need to flee, but Haven House will continue to be here to support and empower those that do. We remain committed to help everyone in our community live violence free. During the past year staff at South Peninsula Haven House provided 69 victims with emergency shelter and provided individual advocacy to 201 victims. Our work would not be complete without assistance from our community partners, to whom we referred 123 people.

Domestic violence impacts our entire community, but it can be prevented. It requires the collective voice and power of individuals, families, institutions, and systems – each whose one thing (#1Thing) adds a valuable and powerful component to transforming our community.

Our call to action is for everyone – advocates, medical professionals, educators, survivors, researchers, policy makers, law enforcement officers, business owners, students, and more, to do #1Thing to stop domestic violence.

Here are some ideas for #1Thing you could do to address domestic violence:

• Talk to loved ones about violence and oppression

• Create a culture of consent in your home

• Use social media to raise awareness among your peers

• Volunteer at Homer Thrift

• Attend a Green Dot Training

• Be a caring and consistent adult in the life of a child

• Donate resources to support South Peninsula Haven House

• Listen to and validate a survivor of trauma

• Share South Peninsula Haven House’s information with a survivor

As an organization we invite you to join us during the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in honoring all individuals impacted by domestic violence. What is your #1Thing?

Ronnie Leach is the Executive Director of South Peninsula Haven House.