For survivors of domestic violence, life can be full of fear and uncertainty. Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy but there is help available.
One in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Locally, that number is even higher with almost 40 percent of California women experiencing physical intimate partner violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Anyone can experience domestic violence, as those affected come from all walks of life, varying age groups and all backgrounds. While younger women, aged 18 to 24 years, are significantly more likely to be affected by domestic abuse, both men and women experience these situations. In fact, in California, 28 percent of men have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In addition, 1 in 15 children have experienced violence within their homes — with a majority of those children seeing it firsthand.
While the statistics can paint a heartbreaking picture, it signifies the great need that exists to assist those who have suffered such trauma.
Organizations such as Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico help provide services to men, women and children who are experiencing domestic violence and need a safe place to stay. In addition to emergency and transitional housing, Catalyst provides counseling, crisis intervention, legal assistance, a 24-hour crisis line, plus community education and prevention services.
For the past 10 years, UnitedHealthcare employees in Chico have held a Domestic Violence Awareness Food Drive, collecting food, books and everyday essentials (such as toothbrushes, diapers, socks, blankets and shampoo) to assist those fleeing from violent situations.
During the annual event held at the UnitedHealthcare offices in Chico, the donated items are loaded on to trucks by employees and volunteers and then delivered to Catalyst Domestic Violence Services’ emergency shelter in Butte County. This year, the teams donated more than 4,000 pounds of food.
Over the past decade, UnitedHealthcare has donated more than 17 tons of food and necessary items to Catalyst’s emergency shelter.
The annual food drive coincides with a monthlong public service campaign in Chico to raise awareness of domestic violence.