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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Victoria Mims, Clinical Intern

Did you know there is more than 20,000 calls made each day to 911 or any other crisis line related to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), also commonly known as Domestic Violence (DV). With each passing moment, an average of 1 out of 4 women, or 1 out of 9 men have experienced violence acts against their person such as; physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, fear, sexually transmitted diseases, and post-traumatic stress disorder (NCADV, n.d.). In Michigan alone, approximately 91,004 individuals reported IPV, and from those, 105 individuals were reported murdered in 2017. Yet, we know that not many come forward to report this crime against them or their loved ones out of fear and repercussions. In the state of Michigan, IPV is a misdemeanor where the preparator found guilty will be punished by 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine (Michigan State Police, n.d.). So, what is IPV or DV? According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IPV is defined as “a serious public health problem in the United States that can have a profound impact lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being.” According to the State of Michigan, DV is defined as “a pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to control another person” (Michigan State Police,n.d.). Both definition define power, control, manipulation, and abuse over a person or any vulnerable person who is at risk for physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse(CDC, 2021). Yet, there maybe a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, Governor Whitmer has signed into law the Red Flag bill which prevents gun violence by confiscating firearms and preventing those who are at harm of themselves and others from receiving and keeping weapons. The law went into effect with police officers, health care professionals,and family members to seek a court order to report and confiscate weapons on site (Michigan, 2023). Additionally, Senate Bills 471/472 and House Bills 4945/4946 if they become a law will protect IPV/DV survivors and victims’ by making it a crime to possess, use, purchase, or carry a firearm in the state of Michigan for 8 years once convicted. As one fact puts it, 51.3 percent of homicides are committed by guns. Nearly half of all women murdered in America were killed by current or former partners and bythe usage of a firearm (Michigan Senate, 2023). Hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel! As we are aware of October being DV month, we honor those who are both survivors or loss their loved ones. Let’s make that change to be more aware of IPV and how to support bills that protect others.