Intimate partner violence occurs among all genders, income levels and races. Nationally 10% of men and 25% of women have experienced intimate partner violence; however, it is not unique to any group. People of color and other marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQI+ community, are disproportionately impacted by this type of violence, which manifests as physical, emotional, sexual and psychological abuse.
Crises exacerbate intimate partner violence. In 2020 COVID-19 increased stress and reduced access to resources for many people, and rates of violence rose. From March to May 2020, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a 9% increase in contacts. In Clatsop County on the north Oregon coast, the number was even greater.
The Harbor, a nonprofit that supports domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, reported nearly 50% more demand for services. Calls to their 24/7 crisis line doubled during the pandemic, reaching 250 a month. In 2020, Providence grants allowed The Harbor to provide more shelter options, support services and technology upgrades, including new telehealth services and phones for isolated survivors.
Trevor* was referred to The Harbor following an incident in which his partner of 20 years attacked him in public. The partner controlled nearly every aspect of Trevor’s life, isolating him from friends and family, encouraging him to self-medicate with methamphetamines, and blocking access to mental health and social supports.
The Harbor helped Trevor develop a safety plan. They gave him a phone, placed him in safe housing and connected him to mental health services where he received support for the trauma he had experienced and began treatment for substance use. Within two months, Trevor built bridges with his parole officer, secured transitional housing and gained employment. He is now drug-free and living independently in a stable home as he heals mentally and physically.
As people of Providence, our values of compassion and respect call us to care for all as we work to ensure human dignity. People hurt by intimate partner violence have been robbed of dignity and are among the most vulnerable in our communities.
*Identifying information has been changed to protect privacy.