For the whole month of October, San Francisco’s City Hall will be washed in purple lights. Many people will wonder why. Our hope is that by the end of the month, everyone will know why and feel the resulting unity throughout the city and the nation.
Every day throughout the world, individuals perceived to be vulnerable are preyed upon, exploited, and targeted for violence and control. It’s happening in San Francisco, too. If you don’t see it, that’s because it’s happening behind closed doors—or because you aren’t looking. That’s why every October, advocates in San Francisco and beyond raise awareness for domestic violence against women, men, children, and older adults. We’ll be louder, we’ll be more visible, and we’ll be asking you to join us at this critical time.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 2017, elder abuse is becoming a part of the conversation. Domestic violence in later life can show up as physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, financial abuse, and neglect. And the way we’re going to turn the tides of elder abuse is by coming together—by never thinking or speaking as if domestic violence is acceptable in any case; by encouraging others to also reframe their understanding; and by considering it an utmost priority to empower older adults and others in our community with the resources they need to thrive and stay connected.
Putting an End to Domestic Violence in Later Life
While other types of violence have been gaining awareness and understanding over the years, domestic elder abuse has been slow to gain attention, but it is no less serious. As we age and must open ourselves to assistance later in life, there are unfortunately those few who choose to take advantage—whether those people are strangers, neighbors, partners or former partners, family members, and even caregivers. When older adults are isolated, the results can be even more devastating, and they may not get help before they are seriously harmed physically, emotionally, or financially.
Because this domestic violence often involves patterns of power and control, it is important that we, as a supportive community, commit to empowering our aging population and ensuring that they are connected to progressive resources. For existing cases of domestic elder abuse, here’s a guide to reporting in California and seeking compassionate assistance.
In general, we need to get behind supportive community programming and make sure that the older adults in need are getting connected. If you know an aging adult who experiences isolation or is struggling with the limited resources available to them, reach out to the local Institute on Aging to help them reconnect with their strength. Spread the word!
What Events Are Happening in San Francisco for Domestic Violence Awareness?
In anticipation of the 30th annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month, some events have already kicked off our commitment in San Francisco:
September 17, 2017 — For the 16th year in a row, the Giants Community Fund raised money and awareness for survivors of violence and the organizations working to end it. Before the first pitch on game day, visitors learned about how they can help.
September 26–28, 2017 — This year in San Francisco, advocates and experts from all over the world came together to share findings and practices that will strengthen our collective response to domestic violence.
Here are some ways you can get involved in San Francisco during the month of October:
October 3, 2017 — The SF Domestic Violence Consortium, the Department on the Status of Women, and city leaders will kick off the month by raising awareness for domestic violence in San Francisco and lighting up the City Hall purple.
October 19, 2017 — The University of San Francisco is offering a short workshop for people to come together to discuss what domestic violence is, where it occurs—particularly in the workplace—and strategies for intervention.
Every Tuesday–Friday — Glide hosts a circle for women to share their experiences of domestic violence and everyday life, and to find their strength together.
Every day — Institute on Aging is working to prevent domestic violence in later life and reframe our global views on it through wide programs and services in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Reach out anytime to find out about trainings, up-to-date expert opinions, and opportunities for advocacy.
Domestic Violence Awareness Is Healing Our World from the Inside Out
It’s so important that victims of domestic violence know they are not alone. Help is closer than they think, but they must get connected to get help. The more we can raise awareness for these tragedies throughout our communities, the more we can act as bridges between sources of help and those who need it. And the more we raise awareness, there will be less room for domestic violence in the first place. We’re setting the firm standard that these crimes are never acceptable, and we will keep speaking out until the injustice comes to an end.
Institute on Aging is one welcoming place for you to seek solace and progressive help against domestic violence and elder abuse. The Elder Abuse Prevention Program is advocating for and assisting aging adults in San Francisco every day. For more information, you can contact us online or call (415) 750-4111.
Image Source: Flickr user GPS