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Domestic Violence is a Health Crisis - WTLC
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Domestic Violence is a Health Crisis

28 Jul Domestic Violence is a Health Crisis

Domestic Violence is a Health Crisis

Gigi Tsontos

May 30, 2016

Recently I spoke to a group of donors celebrating WTLC’s 40th Anniversary of serving survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. I shared the stories of the most severe and prolonged public health crisis of our time, Domestic Violence. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are victims. That means that each of us not only know someone affected WE KNOW A VICTIM.

In May while vacationing in Prague, I was reminded of how pervasive this health crisis is.  One evening returning from dinner I notice a couple in an “argument.”  As my husband and I looked on, she shirked, he picked her up tears rolling down her cheeks. I looked for a police officer but the train arrived. And they disappeared.

Exiting at our stop notice the couple. She was running and he was yelling. He backs her into a corner. My husband yells for him to stop and I run to the station attendant. Police. He walks away and I ask in English forgetting my surroundings. Are you alright? She smiles and walks quickly. We watch for a few moments. He has disappeared and she is slowly walking away.

My husband wonders how could this occur in public? I say…it’s not uncommon. I was tearing up. What could we do?

Thinking back…I’m filled with emotion. And sad that I, a member of the movement to end domestic violence, minimized the scene.

I’ve worked in this field in some way for years. I started my studies in social welfare policy working with a family court judge and in a domestic violence shelter. It was my first glimpse at the power and strength of survivors like my Prague Survivor. I often think of those whose destiny I was not privy to:  Jennifer and her five year old son Rex, who showed, up one night. She was black and blue. The next morning they were gone.  The night a man followed me to my car after my shift asking me if I worked in the safe house if I knew where his daughter was.  These stories mimic others, but each is his or hers alone. I often wonder where they are, how did their story play out and where would they be today if shelters did not exist…

Imagine where we could be….if only we TOOK ACTION.

Take action visit WTLC.org/Get Involved!

Gigi Tsontos, LCSW MPA,  Executive Director of Women’s Transitional Living Center, Inc gtsontso@wtlc.org 714-992-1939×106

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