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The Mass Media

The reality of Boston’s domestic abuse problem

**Trigger warning: This article discusses topics of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and violence towards women. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).** 

For Women’s History Month, I’ve been writing articles celebrating women’s achievements and addressing ongoing challenges. However, this week’s focus is on the issue of domestic abuse in Boston. 

I want to clarify that while my focus is on women, domestic abuse affects all genders. Men also experience domestic abuse, and while my statistics primarily pertain to women, some of the resources I’ll mention apply to all. No one, regardless of gender, should live in fear of those close to them. 

Domestic abuse is pervasive across cultures, ingrained in our lives from childhood and through media exposure. Sadly, it’s a persistent issue that may never fully disappear. Boston specifically has grappled with domestic abuse for decades. In 2008, amidst a recession, Massachusetts declared domestic violence a public health crisis. [1] During the COVID-19 lockdown, Boston saw a 22% spike in reports of domestic violence, highlighting the dire situation exacerbated by societal stress. [2] 

Unfortunately, most of the women in my life have firsthand accounts of moments where they felt terrified that their lives weren’t in their own hands. Statistics further reveal the gravity of the issue: 1 in 3 women experience physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. [1] This alarming prevalence underscores the urgent need for action—the commonness of such a terrible issue raises the question, “What’s being done to minimize the damage before it’s too late?” 

The reality is that domestic violence is a widespread problem that, unfortunately, may never truly disappear from our society. However, this is why knowing which resources we can utilize is so important. These support services can be lifesaving, extending support to survivors and those around them. 

All these resources are free to ensure no one is prevented from getting the help they deserve. Among these resources is Massachusetts’ statewide Domestic Violence hotline, (877) 785-2020, which provides free assistance in multiple languages. [3] They’re toll-free and are there to talk if you simply need support, but they can also help you if you’re looking for services or shelter.  

Additionally, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center offers comprehensive support for survivors of sexual violence. [4] They have a 24/7 phone number as well as a live chat, and pride themselves on helping anyone who has suffered from sexual assault, regardless of gender. 

Specialized resources cater to specific communities, with some being for people of color, such as the Center for Violence Prevention & Recovery Programs, and others specializing in helping LGBTQIA+ individuals, such as Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program. Both offer tailored services and extensive support. 

My grandmother, a social worker, often directed survivors to Rosie’s Place, a pioneering shelter providing a range of services for women in need. They provide “a multi-service community center that offers women emergency shelter and meals, and so much more: a food pantry, ESOL classes, legal assistance, wellness care, one-on-one support, housing and job search services, and community outreach.” They help so many women get back on their feet, and as they say, they “turn hope into help.” [5] 

Unfortunately, seeking help for domestic violence is never one size fits all, so it’s important to find the right support for your individual needs. As Women’s History Month reminds us of our progress and challenges, I believe our efforts are strongest when we love and support each other. Though the fight against domestic violence can feel like an uphill battle, seeing how far we’ve come shows me that the sky’s the limit. 

 

SOURCES: 

[1] Massachusetts_fact_sheet_2020.pdf

[2] Advocates Fear Domestic Abuse Survivors Are ‘Trapped With Their Abusers’ During Pandemic 

[3] Casa Myrna 

[4] Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 

[5] Rosie’s Place 

About the Contributor
Mercy Moncada, Opinions Writer