Earlier this month, state Sen. LeAnna Washington marked the beginning of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
On September 24, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Resolution 346 — sponsored by Washington — which formally designates October as Domestic Violence Month in the Commonwealth.
Each October, Washington schedules a series of events and education initiatives to raise awareness about the struggles that survivors of domestic abuse and violence face.
“As a survivor of domestic abuse, I know the pain and sadness that victims feel, and the stigma that surrounds such horrible violence,” Washington said.
Last year, approximately 91,000 Pennsylvanians were affected by domestic violence. All of the state’s 62 shelters are operating at, or near, capacity.
Washington said that many of these shelters are coming dangerously close to having to shut their doors due to lack of funding, potentially leaving thousands of victims with nowhere else to turn.
Washington noted that in times of financial hardship, cases of domestic violence rise, causing even greater strain on shelters and other domestic violence resources.
Furthermore, she said many victims of abuse feel shame in reporting these crimes, due to the prevalent social stigma surrounding domestic violence.
“It saddens me that to this day — domestic violence remains a taboo, and victims feel ashamed or responsible.” Washington said. “What turns victims into survivors is empowerment, and I pledge to continue the fight to raise awareness and resources to help those affected — we cannot stop until the violence does.”