It’s time we discuss domestic violence

The national travesty we cannot afford to ignore.

The author is the executive director of Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence each year. Whether it’s our family, friends, co-workers or neighbors, all of us are in some way touched by what has always been and remains a national travesty. It’s time for the nation to have serious discussions about domestic abuse.

This is not a simple issue. The reasons victims don’t always seek help or leave an abusive relationship are as complicated as the issue itself. Trying to understand what drives a person to inflict harm on the ones they supposedly love is also complex.

We can all do something and help change this lack of understanding. A good place to start is to talk about domestic violence. Education and public awareness are important to understanding the signs of abuse or where loved ones or friends can turn if they need help.

At Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, we work with thousands of victims and survivors of domestic violence each year here in the Butte County region, providing them with services that include a 24-hour hotline, drop-in centers, restraining order clinics, court accompaniment, individual and group counseling, safe shelter, transitional housing, community education, emergency food and clothing, and crisis intervention and advocacy.

In October, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are working with community partners like the Chico Chamber of Commerce and UnitedHealthcare to raise awareness through a public service campaign, educational events and employer training, as well as other educational and outreach activities.

These types of in-kind and monetary contributions donated by local residents and business partners are vital to our ability to support women and children in need of help and assistance.

While October is a good time to join our efforts to help end domestic violence, this is a cause we all need to champion throughout the year. With more than 150,000 victims seeking help in California alone through domestic violence hotlines each year, a greater call to action is needed.

To learn more about how to help or get involved, visit And, more importantly, if you know someone who needs assistance here in Butte County, simply call our hotline at 1-800-895-8476 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.