By Nancy N. Sharpe
Arapahoe County Commissioner, District 2
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it’s an important time to speak up about this devastating and, unfortunately, all too common issue. We in Arapahoe County want to raise awareness about the social and personal impact domestic violence has on victims and families.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. Each year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
In Colorado, nearly 37 percent of women and 31 percent of men experience such physical violence or other forms of domestic abuse. But even though domestic violence is often thought of only as physical abuse, domestic violence can take many other forms, including financial and emotional abuse. This aggression can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time, regardless of the victims’ age, gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion or nationality.
While there are many domestic violence survivors, the most egregious incidents and situations can take lives. Earlier this year, Arapahoe County Human Services lost a dear employee in a murder-suicide committed by her ex-husband. Her tragic passing left us wondering if we’d missed any signs that she was stuck in this predicament, and whether or how we could have done anything to prevent this awful tragedy.
We’re committed to learning from this experience by honoring our late colleague, with a series of videos that we’ll release and share throughout October. Our “Now I Know” videos describe the often-subtle warning signs of domestic violence. We’ve also compiled resources and tips on our website to help victims and those close to them. We invite everyone to visit Arapahoegov.com/GetHelp to take a look at our videos and share what you see with your friends and neighbors, especially those who might be trapped in one of these situations. Domestic violence is preventable. Arapahoe County will continue to promote the building of safe and thriving communities, and we hope you’ll join our efforts.