A Week Without Violence

Photo 1: T-shirt with antiviolence slogans.
Survivors of violence designed these tee shirts.

The YWCA of Northwest Louisiana recently commemorated their 9th Annual Week Without Violence with numerous events designed to build awareness and encourage change in order to bring about a life without violence. Since an estimated three to four million women in America are victims of domestic violence each year, the YWCA sponsored several events during the week designed to raise awareness of violence against women.

The Clothesline Project, a visual display of tee shirts designed by survivors of violence, their families, and friends, was one such event. One tee shirt, simple in its design but powerful in its message, provided statistical data about domestic violence including:

  • 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime
  • Every 12 seconds a woman is battered in this country
  • Relatives, friends, or acquaintances commit 84% of rapes
  • Louisiana ranked #1 in women killed by intimate partners in 1999
  • 1 in 4 children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18
The week began with a Day of Remembrance that had area police, sheriffs and fire departments sounding their sirens for one minute. This action symbolized one minute without violence and kicked off a session to speak out against domestic violence led by survivors of violent crimes. The week ended with a ladies self-defense class.

Domestic violence victims in northwest Louisiana that flee their abusive situations seeking safety and shelter have only one program at their disposal - the YWCA's Family Violence Program. This program not only provides counseling, legal assistance and advocacy services, it also provides emergency and transitional housing for battered women and their children. The transitional housing program, Thresholds, provides scattered site housing with services to those leaving the emergency shelter in need of education and/or employment assistance. This program, funded in part through HUD's Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program, has been used as a model throughout the state for its design and function.

In 2002, the YWCA of Northwest Louisiana served 311 homeless women and children in their emergency shelter and assisted another 975 women and children through other services, such as counseling and legal assistance. They average about thirty new women and children in the emergency shelter each month. Approximately 50% of the homeless women in the United States are homeless because of domestic violence. The YWCA hopes that events that raise awareness will result in more resources to aid victims and more people being able to enjoy lives without violence.

Content Archived: July 18, 2011