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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick this week shared with BWHers her own story of surviving domestic violence in a past relationship, emphasizing that many victims outwardly appear to have healthy lives, successful careers and strong relationships with family and friends.
“Abuse knows no boundaries. It happens and can happen to any of us,” said Patrick, a special guest at BWH’s annual Honoring Survivors service in the Bornstein Amphitheater on Tuesday.
The silence of victims—often because of fear and embarrassment—remains the biggest challenge in helping them. Patrick urged everyone gathered at the service to reach out to those suffering. “I believe that it takes someone strong to lend a hand and not take it away,” said Patrick of her own experience in breaking her silence. “Let someone suffering in silence know they don’t have to. Help them regain their voice.”
BWHers throughout the hospital every day extend their support to patients, colleagues and members of the community suffering from domestic violence. In particular, the Passageway program offers advocacy and support to patients and employees who are unsafe.
“Nothing calls us so strongly as something as ubiquitous as domestic violence,” said BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, during the service. “We open our doors to all those who work here and those in our community to help them recover from trauma and walk with their heads held high.”
Last year, 31 deaths attributed to domestic violence were reported in Massachusetts. This year, Patrick said, there are already 30 deaths.
“This is not somebody else’s problem,” said Patrick, adding that domestic violence also contributes to homelessness, poverty and health problems. “We all own the problem and the solution to the problem.”
For confidential domestic violence services for employees, call Passageway at ext. 2-8753 or the Employee Assistance Program at ext. 2-6017.