October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I as a victim advocate am calling for the community to support all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The National Resource Center for Domestic Violence reports that on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men.

In 2014, statistics documented by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that there were 16,700 domestic violence offenses filed in Colorado.

More than 80 percent of women who experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by a partner report serious impact such as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, almost half of all murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner. The vast majority of these victims are female.

An interesting study conducted by Colorado domestic violence organizations showed that in one day in 2014 there were 904 victims, with 163 who were turned away due to a lack of resources. This was in one day, and only 78 percent of the reporting domestic violence programs were included in the study. It is sad to find out that 41 people in Colorado died as a result of domestic violence in that year. This may illustrate how important reporting domestic violence is and should be supported by the community.

A woman is more likely to be killed by a spouse or an intimate acquaintance than by a stranger.

In October, I encourage you to wear or display purple to raise awareness, show your solidarity with survivors and their families, and take a stand against domestic violence.

You can also show solidarity by attending the Candlelight Vigil from 4:30-7 p.m today. at F and First streets. In addition to a candle ceremony, there will be a live-drummer experience, chili, hot cocoa and cider.

Domestic violence knows no barriers, it doesn’t discriminate against ethnicity, income or geography. Survivors often hide the truth to family, friends or co-workers.

There is no reason to hide. If you’re a survivor, escape domestic violence. There are many resources for those needing help. The first step is to stop hiding. Silence hides violence

If you feel like you’re in danger, call 911. Or contact The Alliance at 719-539-7347.

Janine Stovall is a licensed Colorado advocate with The Alliance.

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