The DVAM silhouettes (Photo: Vane)
As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), local non-profit Wild Iris has organized a traveling exhibit, symposium, and several fundraisers to help spread knowledge about domestic violence and resources for its victims.
According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, domestic violence is “best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors — including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion — used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in a relationship.” Statistics released as part of this year’s DVAM offer a chilling reminder that domestic violence is far from an infrequent occurrence in the United States:
*Approximately 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience physical domestic violence in her life
*Almost one third of female homicide victims reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner
*15.5 million children in the U.S. live in families in which domestic violence occurred at least once in the past year, and 7 million children live in families in which severe domestic violence occurred
*The economic burden of domestic violence in the U.S. is more than $8 billion per year in direct medical costs and loss of productivity
As a Wild Iris press release stated, “With this knowledge, it becomes abundantly clear that as a community, we must work together to end domestic violence.” To that end, Wild Iris organized an Oct. 13 symposium, “An Empty Space at the Table,” with speakers Sarah Buel and Mike Agnew, which drew more than 200 attendees to the Tri-County Fairgrounds. In addition, Wild Iris scheduled two fundraisers in Mono County, the first a Tupperware sale Oct. 19 at the Sierra Nevada Lodge, and the second a dinner Oct. 26 at the Mono Inn from 5-9 p.m., with 20% of the proceeds donated to Wild Iris.
In keeping with this year’s theme, “Transformation from Victim to Survivor,” Wild Iris has also created 2 silhouette displays that will travel around Inyo and Mono Counties over the course of the month. “This life-size exhibit demonstrates the daily experiences of a victim, and the possibilities of hope and renewal that come through the support of the community,” stated a Wild Iris press release. “This display is an effort to bring awareness that by working together to end abuse, we can create a community of hope.”
Wild Iris is funded by a combination of state, federal, and locally donated money. The 2 Mono County and 9 Inyo County staff members (3 of whom are administrators) provide confidential, free services to both counties. The Wild Iris website states the organization’s commitment to “helping victims and survivors affected by domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault from all cultures, including race, gender, religion, age, class, disability status, immigration status, education and geographic location within Inyo and Mono counties.”
In FY 2011-2012, Wild Iris reported it received 226 domestic violence-related hotline calls, provided 121 bed nights to victims of domestic violence and their children, and helped 42 families establish new homes when displaced due to domestic violence.
The DVAM silhouettes will be in Bishop at Spellbinder Books from Oct. 17-24, Studio 27 from Oct. 24-Nov. 1, and Valley Florist from Nov. 1-7. The silhouettes will be in Mammoth at the Mammoth Library from Oct. 17-24, the Mammoth Lakes Hospital from Oct. 24-Nov. 1, and at the Bridgeport Clinic from Nov. 1-7.
For more information, contact Wild Iris at 760.873.6601 (Inyo) or 760.934.2491 (Mono). To contact Wild Iris’ 24-hour toll free crisis hotline, call 1.877.873.7384.