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There is hope

Domestic violence and abuse is a more common experience than many of us realize.

One in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

A woman is beaten every nine seconds, on average, in the United States.

Women lose 8 million days of paid work every year because of the domestic abuse that is perpetrated against them by a current or former male partner. A study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2003 cited that this is a loss that is equivalent to 32,000 full-time jobs in the United States.

One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and 7 million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred.

1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.

These painful statistics from sources including the CDC, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and Childhood Domestic Violence Association were featured in a presentation shown by regional organization Madeline’s House during a vigil Thursday remembering the 20th anniversary of Madeline Gearheart Mitchell, a Farmville resident murdered by her estranged husband.

Prince Edward County Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark spoke about showing empathy and offering safety for victims of domestic violence. Anyone can be victims of the manipulation that comes from perpetrators of abuse, and yes, all of us, whether we’re in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, or friends and loved ones, have a responsibility to offer protection, understanding and support to victims of domestic violence to ensure that the violence does not result in the end of a victim’s life.

Madeline’s House offers short-term housing, employment assistance and places of safety for victims of domestic violence and their families.

The trauma associated with experiencing domestic violence, and the silence and stigma around discussing it can be suffocating. You’re not alone. There’s hope. There’s a way out, and a way forward.

To learn more about Madeline’s House, call the office number at (434) 394-3505 or the 24-hour hotline at 1-(888)-819-2926.

EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@ FarmvilleHerald.com.