'tis the season

This year I’m participating in the annual Hot Chocolate Run here in western Mass, which benefits Safe Passage, our local domestic violence shelter.

It’ll be me and 5,499 others, running or walking through the relatively affluent streets of Northampton, MA, to raise money and awareness around intimate partner violence.

Shall I give you some statistics to explain why?

One in four women is a target/victim of domestic/intimate partner violence in her lifetime, distributed about equally across all ethnic groups. IPV is more common in urban areas than rural or suburban areas, and women aged 20-24 are at the highest risk.

Domestic/intimate partner violence disproportionately victimizes women: 85% of survivors are women; 15% are men. Only about 1 in 5 women (1 in 10 men) reports their abuse to the police.

Half of men who frequently abuse their wives also frequently abuse their children.

In about half of all battering relationships, one of the weapons used is sex; sexual assault occurs in about 45% of violent relationships.

IPV increases with unemployment. The national unemployment rate is 9%, roughly double what it was before the economy did a nosedive in 2008.

And domestic violences increases around the holidays. Really, it does. ‘Tis the season.

And yet Safe Passage, like so many shelters and support agencies, has to raise money with a fun run, rather than having guaranteed, permanent federal, state, and local government funding. Which seems shameful to me.

There are lots of worthy causes out there – animal shelters, global poverty, global hunger, reproductive rights, climate change, wildlife conservation, the list goes on.

For me, this is one where I can see the difference my little contribution makes, right here in my neighborhood.

Click the Hot Chocolate Run icon on your right (or right here) to “pledge” for me for the hot chocolate run, or donate directly to Safe Passage.

Or find the shelter that’s in your area (you can start by looking here) and donate to them.

Or talk with your friends and family about pooling holiday gift money to support a cause rather than buy each other more crap and carbohydrates. Last year my sister and her family gave a goat, and then she got the kids little goat-themed stuff, like t-shirts and body lotion.

And finally, if you think your relationship might be abusive, or if you don’t feel safe in your relationship, click here.