A large crowd raises their hands in front of a speaker on stage.

Earlier this year, I attended Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW). A massive gathering of law enforcement professionals, attorneys, government officials, counselors, educators and others, CCAW addresses the real and present dangers threatening women and girls on daily basis: rape, murder, violence – sadly, too many to list.

CCAW was a new experience for me and one intended to expand my understanding of domestic violence. And it delivered. The conference schedule was robust, the program intense and the experience at times, overwhelming. However, while I didn’t know much about crimes committed against women at the time, that paled in comparison to the shocking reality of just how widespread and deadly domestic violence really is. Let the data tell the tale:

  • Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted.
    That’s 400 women every hour, or 9,600 women every day.
  • Domestic violence is the most common killer of women around the world.
    Globally, six women are killed every hour by someone they know.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rape combined.
    And, all deaths related to domestic violence are preventable.

As a society, we continue to fail women miserably on the very preventable impact of violence and abusive intimate partner relationships. Where cancer and heart disease can both approach silently until symptoms present, domestic violence is palpable and presents with discernible signs that often fester silently, harboring trauma internally, until the victim reaches out for help or is fatally injured.

What if rigorous and relentless efforts like those waged against cancer and heart disease could improve a woman’s chances for survival in her own home? What if we “waged war” on abusive partners, murderers, rapists and others who victimize women with the same ferocity that is directed against cancer and heart disease? CCAW is one such effort, drawing thousands of like-minded professionals to the table in attempts to get ahead of these criminal acts, make systematic change and save lives. Taking action against domestic violence, recognizing the warning signs and learning how to help a friend experiencing abuse is something everyone can do, and it just might save someone’s life. The next CCAW is May 18-21, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. You can learn more about the conference and why domestic violence is killing more women than cancer and heart disease at http://conferencecaw.org. 

Written by Maria MacMullin, senior director of major gifts at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support