Mia was a political activist in her South American home country. After years of demanding change and accountability from her government, she faced growing threats and harassment. Eventually, a member of the military assaulted her during a political rally. No longer feeling safe in her country, Mia made the tough decision to leave her two daughters with her sister and flee to the United States.
Mia won political asylum and relocated to Washington. Her limited English proficiency made it challenging to find work, but a friend from church helped her find a restaurant job. Mia was relieved that she could begin saving to bring her daughters to the U.S.
Did you know that sexual assault and domestic violence often go hand in hand? When we hear the term sexual assault, we often think of attacks by strangers. This isn’t always the case. In fact, around 33% of sexual assaults are committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. And nearly one in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
Intimate partner violence also tends to start young, during the “tween” or teenage years. The CDC reports that among survivors of sexual assault, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, more than 22% of female survivors and 15% of male survivors experienced intimate partner violence for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. Between the ages of 18 and 24, those figures jump to nearly half of female survivors and one-third of male survivors.
So we know that intimate partners commit sexual assault, and we know these issues affect adolescents as young as 11 years of age. The big question is, what can we do to change this?
Camille never considered her relationship abusive until the morning she called LifeWire’s helpline. Her boyfriend never hit or threatened her, but he liked to be in control. He hated when she got home late from work. He told her what she could wear, who she could see, and how she could spend money.
All of her concerns came to mind when Camille heard Becky, a domestic violence survivor, share her story on New Day Northwest. After listening to Becky, Camille finally had the words to describe what was happening in her relationship: emotional abuse, financial abuse, and domestic violence. Supported with that knowledge, Camille reached out to LifeWire for help.
Last October, the #MeToo movement captured the internet’s attention. From actresses to politicians and domestic laborers to college students, people began sharing their personal experiences with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Through their brave actions, survivors have opened the door to change. Powerful individuals are losing jobs, companies are revising harassment policies, and survivors like Camille are learning where they can get help.