A few months ago, Maria had one arm in a sling, while the other carried her infant baby.
The beating from her husband had put her in the hospital, and now that she was being discharged, she couldn’t go home. She had someone beside her though, the man carrying her bag into the Weaver Domestic Violence Center.
That man who escorted Maria to safety was the Metro Nashville police officer working her case. Without his kind insistence, guidance and protection, we know from our long experience at the YWCA that Maria and her child likely wouldn’t have made into safety.
Aside from the physical injuries, domestic violence inflicts trauma and toxic stress in its victims, and sadly, many view this as an unsolvable fact of life. One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. More than 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence in the U.S. every year. And Tennessee now ranks fourth in the nation for the rate at which men kill women.
Nashville, we are better than this. And our community knows how to roll up its sleeves and get things done.
Just last year, Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson and Mayor Megan Barry adopted the Lethality Assessment Program, an innovative, proven strategy developed in Maryland to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries.
In the past, Nashville police officers would simply hand out safety cards with a crisis number printed on it. Now, YWCA-trained police officers actually help victims make a phone call if the protocol determines they are in a lethal situation, and victims such as Maria are getting the help to become survivors.
Since the LAP has been implemented, the call volume at the YWCA hotline has doubled, and with limited resources, we work closely with community partners to give victims and their children a much better chance to break the cycle of violence and heal.