National NOW Foundation Times >> Fall 2008  >> Article

Stop, Look, Listen and Act to End Domestic Violence

By Ali Rodway, Field Organizer

'Take Action Against Sexual Assault.' Toolkit cover based on a design by Shane Warden.
Toolkit cover based on a design by Shane Warden

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, approximately 1,200 women a year -- three every day -- die in the United States as a result of domestic violence. One in six women has experienced rape or attempted rape. More than half of all rapes of women occur before they reach the age of 18, and more than one million women are stalked annually in the U.S.

Once again, NOW activists in chapters across the country are planning events to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October. "This is the time of year we stop to remember those who were physically or mentally harmed by partner violence," said NOW Action Vice President Melody Drnach. "And while we will never know the names and stories of all of the survivors, this year we lost one of our rising leaders in the movement." (See memoriam to Jana Mackey)

"We also use this time to look back on our progress toward our solemn goal to end all forms of violence against women, and this year is no different," said Drnach. NOW activists, along with domestic violence advocacy groups, successfully worked with Congress to advance legislation to fund the Violence Against Women Act, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and the Victims of Crime Act.

During October, NOW will launch a program encouraging students to assess the availability and awareness of services and programs to respond to rape and sexual assault on their campuses (PDF). NOW will assist interested students to evaluate their campus using the checklist developed by the organization's field team and interns this summer.

"Once the student-led assessment is complete, we hope that campus administrators will listen to the concerns of the students and act to improve services and raise awareness about rape and sexual assault on campuses across the country," said Drnach.

Finally, this November we have a chance to send leaders to the U.S. Congress, to our State Houses, and to the White House, who will lead efforts to increase the funding for basic, lifesaving services, including: emergency shelter, crisis intervention, hotlines, safety planning, counseling, legal services, and specialized services for children.

"We need leaders who will take action to end the devastating impact of domestic violence," said Drnach. "Do your part and vote for candidates who are leaders in this fight."