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Hatcher recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month, calls for legislation to aid survivors and prevent harm

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I want you to start a timer. Every 60 seconds, make 20 tallies on a piece of paper. 

Do you know what those tallies represent? Those lines aren’t just numbers. They are the 20 people across the country that, every single minute, become victims of domestic violence. 

Around 42.5% of Hoosier women and 27.9% of Hoosier men experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. That means that a portion of their life was dominated by physical assault, sexual violence, stalking, or emotional trauma inflicted upon them by someone they loved and trusted. 

Domestic violence numbers have increased since COVID-19 and, unfortunately, are expected to continue to rise. It is the “silent pandemic” that seeps into our communities and homes, infecting survivors and their families. 

No words can encompass the suffering survivors must endure. No one deserves that pain, ever. 

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we must work to not only protect Hoosiers and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence, but do all we can to put an end to it. 

The first step in ending domestic violence is understanding that it is entirely preventable. Violence is something that is learned. Many children grow up caught in a web of generational trauma and believe that abuse is normal, routine and even expected. It is important that we have open and honest conversations with children in our schools and communities about what a safe and positive relationship looks like, and that everyone, no matter their background, deserves to be respected. 

Additionally, we must acknowledge that as a “silent pandemic,” issues of domestic violence should be addressed as a public health crisis. That involves a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach that both creates a network of support for survivors and installs equitable public policies that prevent further harm. Proven solutions to both reduce domestic violence rates and support survivors include increasing a range of affordable housing options, offering affordable healthcare and childcare options, and even simply advocating for healthy relationship and teen dating violence curriculum in schools. All these initiatives can serve as solutions in addressing this crisis. 

Another significant step in reducing domestic abuse and homicides is addressing gun violence. Over half of the domestic violence homicides within our state are committed with a gun. Furthermore, it has been found that abusers’ access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner femicide by at least ten-fold. There is no doubt that firearms play a large part in the conversation surrounding domestic violence. In the wake of Indiana entering an era of permitless carry, we must address the negative impact this legislation will have on survivors of domestic abuse. Permitless carry makes it even more difficult for law enforcement to prevent abusers and stalkers from possessing firearms. That is why we have to reverse this detrimental legislation and strengthen firearm laws in Indiana. 

By investing in effective solutions and building supported social infrastructures, we can end the cycles of trauma and abuse within Indiana. As Hoosiers, we have to look out for each other, hold abusers accountable and give care and love wherever we go. 

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