Last year, the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted 73 cases of domestic violence. This was on top of the 239 calls received by the Department of Public Safety regarding domestic abuse.
Worse, the vast majority of domestic violence cases go unreported. On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
These sobering numbers were the highlight in Tuesday’s proclamation signing at the Saipan World Resort, when the month of October was declared Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In signing the proclamation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that violence is never the answer and he appealed to the perpetrators to stop.
“Please stop hurting the people you love,” said Torres. “Violence is not the right way to go. You need to walk away, walk away from whatever situation, get a breather, whatever it is.”
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that one intimate partner uses to gain and maintain control over another and can be in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, and economic control.
The proclamation recognized that, while women make up the largest group of people who experience domestic violence, anyone can be affected by it.
“To those that are suffering now, I hope you have the courage to reach out because help is here. And I wish you the best and I hope that you can get out from that relationship,” Torres added.
Anyone in the community is called on to empower victims/survivors by offering resources like the Karidat Victim Hotline number (234-5100), listening without judgement, and reminding them that they are not alone.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios expressed appreciation to all advocates and their tireless dedication to increasing awareness on domestic violence.
With “Survivor Strong” as the theme, this year’s campaign focuses on “shining light on survivors,” those who have experienced domestic violence, or who are currently living with domestic violence.
The schedule of activities in observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month include the Saipan Day of Unity on Oct. 5; Day of Prayer on Oct. 6; the Northern Marianas College’s Silent Walk at Oct. 9; Rota Night of Unity on Oct. 19; Purple Thursday on Oct. 24; the Saipan Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Domestic Violence on Oct. 25; and the Purple Wave, Walk, & Roll on Oct. 30.
For more information about supporting survivors, call the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence at 234-3878, the Family Violence Task Force at 664-4584, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at thehotline.org.