Books to Enhance Support and Education for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Victims in Indiana
If you are among the lucky who have not personally experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, chances are you know someone who has. The statistics paint a very concerning picture of the prevalence of sexual assault and violence occurring in our homes:
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime*
1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men experience sexual assault in their lifetime*
I’ve been lucky, but more than a few strong and beautiful women I know have not been so fortunate. Sexual and domestic violence can happen to any of us – no matter how educated, no matter how careful.
The women I know who fell victim to violence were at least fortunate enough to have the support they needed to survive it. Many other women – and men – who find themselves in these situations do not.
Even more problematically, public opinion about rape and assault may prevent victims from speaking about their experiences and seeking the help they need.
Politicization of these – and related – issues in the United States this election year have certainly brought more attention to this critical area. While the outrage following the comments made by Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has been encouraging, the fact that such views (about the ‘legitimacy of rape’) exist should be a cause for concern about its reflection on our culture and society and possible implications on victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
In the US state of Indiana, non-profit Middle Way House is providing crucial support services to victims of sexual and domestic violence – and in their home state, trying to change the discourse on this important issue.
Middle Way House operates a domestic violence program and rape crisis support and intervention, emergency shelter and non-residential services, legal and personal advocacy, and runs support groups for male and female survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Now, Middle Way House has launched a campaign called Pages for Change, which aims to address a lack of resources and negative attitude towards survivors of rape and abuse by donating books on these topics to public and college libraries.
By making these books more widely available, Pages for Change hopes that it will be easier for individuals experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault to find the help and information they need, while also aiming to educate the public about the realities of domestic violence and sexual assault in the hope of reducing the stigma that victims face.
Pages for Change is already well on its way to achieving its $3,000 tipping point goal, with more than $2,300 already pledged to helping Middle Way House provide books to its 19 partner libraries.
When Pages for Change reaches its tipping point goal, an abbreviated set of books will be sent to each library; bookplates with shelter information and services to be included in each book; and an opening reception to be held to thank donors. However, if the total fundraising goal of $9,000 is raised, Pages for Change will be able to provide a full set of books to each of the 19 libraries (including some non-circulating copies, for those who cannot take the books into their homes), bookplates, and an opening reception.
With 15 days left to get behind this campaign, we should all remember the women and men in our lives, behind the statistics, and really dig deep.
* Statistics via Pages for Change
I’m a media, communications and advocacy professional who has lived and worked in London, with government in Australia, and the United Nations in Bangladesh and Cambodia – and I’ve travelled everywhere in between (well, not everywhere…yet!). I have a journalism degree and recently completed a Masters in Communication for Development, with a thesis on media development. With loads of volunteering and writing experience, I’m excited to be part of the inspiring social entrepreneurship space. I’m now based in San Diego, California. You can find me on Twitter at @caseymac81.
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