Opinion

Opinion

Your Turn: Stand with us against violence, hate

August 23, 2017

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Our hearts and thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of the Aug. 13 murder-suicide, an act of domestic violence carried out by the victim’s ex-partner.

Physical violence is the most visible form of domestic violence, but it is not the only form. In Kansas, one woman is killed by an intimate partner every 14 days, and a woman is beaten every 28 minutes. These shocking statistics have now, once again, come home to our beloved city. One in four women and one in seven men suffer relationship violence in their lifetimes. These statistics are actually higher for some populations in the U.S. For example, there are studies finding the number is one in two for Native American women. Statistics would indicate you know someone who has been or is a victim of this violence.

At the Willow Domestic Violence Center we provide safety, education and hope for anyone suffering domestic violence. Please visit our website, www.willowdvcenter.org, and bookmark it. Information, resources and easy access to our 24-hour hotline is at your fingertips. Please contact our help line at 785-843-3333. The hotline is staffed every hour of the day by a person who answers questions and gives support.

Not all acts of violence are relationship violence, but, just like domestic violence, all acts of violence serve to destroy and divide, to harm people we call our friends and neighbors, our family and our community. When this happens, we will not remain silent.

Violence takes many forms. When human compassion and caring tenants that are extraordinarily valuable to the Willow and our community are called into question, we feel compelled to speak. As an agency, the Willow does not tolerate behavior that is destructive to human life and dignity. The events of Charlottesville were organized by recognized hate groups and attended by people who support hate and racism. A counter-protest was organized by those who, like us, refuse to tolerate such hate. It was not only a tragedy when a counter-protester was struck by a car driven by a self-confessed white supremacist, it was also a crime of petty anger and hate.

We are unable to tolerate the symbol of hate and violence that is the Nazi salute, we are unable to tolerate the carrying of torches that symbolize the terror of the KKK and we are unable to tolerate the silence or acceptance of such actions by anyone leading our great nation. As an agency tasked with providing shelter and hope to those suffering violence, we will not stand quiet when we see the chaos that violence, hate and terror have created in Charlottesville. This kind of violence can and will enter our community. What will you do? We encourage those who feel as we do to stand up and call out hatred when you see it and to join us in continuing to provide safety to our valued friends and community members who suffer the violence of hate and aggression.

We stand and applaud all members of our community who stand as well.

— Joan Schultz is the executive director of Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence.

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