I find myself trying to process the events of the past couple of weeks, feeling such a range of emotions.
I am Proud to see our space program benefitting from the partnership of private enterprise coupled with our government-funded training program for NASA astronauts – enabling the first space launch with astronauts taking off from U.S. soil in nine years.
I am Filled with Relief that the number of COVID-19 cases in Idaho have remained steady, allowing us to move into Phase 3 of the Governor’s ‘Idaho Rebounds’ plan.
I am Utterly Devastated witnessing racial injustice continuing to flourish across our country, resulting in incredible pain, frustration and anger boiling over—especially in marginalized communities. And my heartache grows as I see individuals who chose to take the opportunity to cause destruction and wreak havoc, harming the underlying message of peaceful protesters.
Given the work done by our WCA team every day, I ask myself what we can do in our daily work to help us move forward as a community to effect change – particularly with respect to racial injustice.
While the impact of domestic abuse and sexual assault crosses all social, economic, and racial lines, communities of color face unique barriers when seeking help…
Here are just a few:
- Distrust of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and social services
- Lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services
- Fear that their experience will confirm or perpetuate the stereotypes placed on their ethnicity
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault statistics for women of color are appalling:
- African American females experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at a rate 35 percent higher than that of white females, and about 2.5 times the rate of women of other races, however, they are less likely than white women to use social services, abused women’s programs, or go to the hospital because of domestic violence
- According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, 37.5 percent of Native American women are victimized by Intimate Partner Violence (rape, physical assault, or stalking) in a lifetime
- Most sexual assault done against African American women goes unreported.
- For every African- American woman that reports her rape, at least 15 African-American women do not report theirs
- 90 percent of Native American women in chemical dependency treatment are victims of rape and childhood sexual abuse
- Approximately 40 percent of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18
(See the Domestic and Sexual Violence and Communities of Color Fact Sheet for specific citations)
These statistics demand that we all do better as a community. We must work even harder to ensure that everyone in our community who has experienced abuse or assault, feels safe and comfortable seeking our services. It also means that as individuals we need to take responsibility for speaking up when we see something that is harmful to another person’s physical or emotional health.
I am reminded of the statement:
“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.“ Edmund Burke
Too many times in our history, we have seen the results when bystanders stood by and did not take action. George Floyd should still be alive; if the three other officers had stepped in and taken action maybe he would be. This leads me to ask myself, and invite you to answer personally:
“Action begins with each of us reflecting and understanding what we must first change within ourselves.” Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron CEO
I believe we can do better individually and collectively, and through our efforts, we can affect profound change in our community.