I would like to thank [frequent Mountain Xpress Commentary contributor] Jerry Sternberg for bringing the subject of domestic violence to the attention of Xpress readers by offering the proceeds from his book, The Gospel According to Jerry, to Helpmate, the local nonprofit agency providing shelter for [domestic-violence] victims and their children, a 24-hour hotline, counseling, court advocacy and education.
As a member of Helpmate's board of directors, I continue to be surprised and aghast at the statistics surrounding domestic abuse and its prevalence in our society. Some of the things I have learned during my service include: One in every four women will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime; it is estimated that 1.3 million women in this country are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year; there are 16,800 homicides in this country each year due to intimate-partner violence; the cost of this violence to society exceeds $5.8 billion each year.
Here in Western North Carolina, in the first two months of this year, there have been at least three murders and one suicide related to domestic-violence disputes. It is a problem that will touch nearly everyone through family, friends, or coworkers sometime in their lives. For more help or more information, visit www.helpmateonline.org.
Thanks again, Jerry, and keep writing.
— Ann Lewis