On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.* Statistics this alarming ought to shock and alarm people, motivate people into action, yet it hasn’t, at least not enough. Which is why we hosted a candlelight vigil at a local park on Monday, October 3, 2016, for the thousands of women, the billions of women killed, hurt or harmed, as a part of our local One Billion Rising in Solidarity campaign.
We gathered with the community of Santa Fe to stand in solidarity with victims of domestic violence in America and around the world. We gathered with banners, signs, candles, glow-sticks and one another. I was honored to introduce the many extraordinary people who work to end domestic violence in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. Executive Director of Esperanza Shelter, Marsie Silvestro who spoke about the services Esperanza provides every single day. We were also able to hear directly from survivors like, Tanya Romero who is a prime example that survivors can and ought to be at the heart of activism as she is the Shelter Manager at Esperanza. The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence was also represented by Lisa Wisenfield who notified everyone in attendance about tangible actions we all can make towards ending domestic violence in our community, like writing our elected officials. Homicide and domestic violence survivor, Roberta Lujan shared a poem and a heartfelt story about her little sister who was killed by a self-proclaimed intimate partner. The City of Santa Fe proclaimed October 2016 Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Candlelight Vigil put on by One Billion Rising New Mexico, in order to highlight the services provided, the strength displayed and the hope created by the many victims, survivors and thrivers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, America and the world. There was a moment of silence held for the many victims, family members, survivors and offenders during the lighting of the candles and the closing of our shared space was marked with a song by Marsie.
In Santa Fe, NM we are grateful to these service providers in our community who work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to end domestic violence and who work to prevent LGBTQIA+ directed hate, oppression and educate our communities with trauma informed services and who provides a support network for all. Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families, Inc. has been a point of safety, sanctuary and transformation for victims, survivors and offenders of domestic violence in the community of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico for 40 years. The countless hours of dedication given to preventing intimate partner violence and family violence in our community often goes as a thankless job. It was my honor as the One Billion Rising Global Coordinator in New Mexico to nominate Esperanza for the City of Santa Fe’s “Muchas Gracias Award” for the 40 years of service, sacrifice and safety the many staff and volunteers have provided to residents, clients, families and children in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico.
I was also able to nominate Solace Crisis Treatment Center for the award. The center, which began as the only rape crisis center in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, has since evolved to include treatment of all violent crimes survivors, veterans and anyone living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Solace has been at the forefront of proper and sensitive investigation of criminal child sexual abuse crimes and provides immeasurable service to the community in prevention, education and treatment of sexual abuse, domestic violence and oppression. Solace is also the only agency providing anti-violence and anti-oppression training in the Santa Fe Public Schools.
It was my honor to shine a light on the service providers; Esperanza and Solace.
*Statistics available at http://www.ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics