The night is yours

Leslie D. Rose

    Every 12-15 seconds a woman is battered in the United States.

    Louisiana has domestic violence rates two to three times higher than the national average, according to Louisiana Coalition against Domestic Violence. 

     LCADV, the agency that provides domestic homicide tracking for the state, shows that in 2013, there were 2400 requests unmet by domestic violence agencies in Louisiana.

     Over the last year, legislation has been put in place to protect victims of domestic violence, but since its passing, there have been two noted domestic violence related deaths in Ascension Parish, alone.

     October is hailed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and area agencies are hosting 'Take Back the Night' events. These events serve as evenings of remembrance and education on domestic violence awareness.

     The first of the area functions will take place in Baton Rouge on Oct. 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at LSU Memorial Tower. Hosted by LSU Student Health Center, the 29th annual candlelight march will allow participants to honor and recognize those who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. Organizers said that the event also seeks to engage attendees in culture change and encourage bystander intervention.

     In Ascension Parish, a silent march will take place on Oct. 26, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Court House in Gonzales, and ending at Jamabalaya Park. The march will convene in testimony meant to empower survivors, prevent relationship violence and promote justice for victims.

     In Baton Rouge, a program has been scheduled to help domestic violence abuse victims get out of dangerous situations in attempts to end domestic-related disturbances.

     Backed by a grant received by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's office, the program – Hospital Based Violence Intervention Program – set to begin in January, will hire six social workers, who will rotate schedules to be on-hand 24/7, to meet with victims in the hospital.

     As IRIS Domestic Violence Center, Baton Rouge notes that domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women with a woman being battered in the United States every 12 seconds and 30-33% of women homicides being committed by the victims’ husbands and boyfriends, these events and programs seek to encourage the change necessary to lower the statistics.