Speaking to survivors: How the YWCA is changing the narrative on domestic violence

Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 8:56 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - October is commonly known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The YWCA of Northeast Indiana is dedicated to making sure the voices of survivors are heard.

One in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The YWCA works with anyone in the area who may need help getting out of these situations, whether it be through therapy services, giving them a place to stay at the shelter or simply helping to make sure the abuser can’t contact them.

Director of Empowerment Jennifer Rohlf says domestic violence can be more than just bruises. It can be financial, emotional, sexual, legal or verbal abuse. But regardless it’s important to speak up.

“But if no one knows what’s going on, nobody can help,” Rohlf said. “So, whether that be a trusted friend or family member or a service provider, an organization, so they can help with a safety plan, a connection to resources and just trying to figure out next steps.”

Anyone can experience domestic violence, but anyone can also receive help.

“Men, women, those with children, those with no children, gender nonconforming, anyone that has experienced that violence and is seeking that help.”

She says there are a variety of ways to support survivors, including posting on social media to show support or reaching out to survivors with helpful resources.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, the YWCA has a 24/7 hotline, a shelter, advocates and a therapy program. The hotline number is 800-441-4073.