By Karen Tronsgard-Scott
Editor’s note: Tronsgard-Scott is the executive director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Every Vermonter has the right to thrive and live their life free from violence. Unfortunately, the reality is that too many Vermonters aren’t safe. Each year, thousands of Vermonters experience domestic or sexual violence.
What would it mean to Vermont if our homes were free of violence? If Vermonters were free from the limitations and dangers posed by this violence? If those who use violence were able to change?
Imagine a Vermont where this violence doesn’t pose a risk to our families and our communities and where children thrive and families can safely navigate the conflicts that arise in daily life.
This isn’t an unrealistic dream. It is possible for us to interrupt the inevitability of violence in Vermont.
The Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence, which is Vermont’s leading voice in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence, is launching “Uplift Vermont.” This new campaign will bring individuals and communities together to seek statewide and community-level solutions to domestic and sexual violence.
This year has presented new challenges for all of us with stay at home orders, lost income, school closures and the anxiety that comes with the reality of a global pandemic. In this unprecedented year, realities about our lives have been uncovered — including that many of our community members live in homes where violence is the norm. The stay at home orders, which have been necessary for our health, have brought to light the often hidden and insidious nature of domestic violence. Despite restrictions, over 19,000 Vermonters called domestic and sexual violence organizations last year for support and resources.
Throughout these many months of the pandemic, domestic and sexual violence survivors have sought shelter and housing. Domestic and sexual violence are not new — but the pandemic has highlighted it in a new way.
Knowing about domestic and sexual violence and its impact on all Vermonters is the first step toward a Vermont where homes are free of violence. Now, more than ever, we have the chance to reconsider domestic and sexual violence and focus on the ways we can Uplift Vermont by preventing violence before it happens.
Together, we can build a violence-free Vermont where every one of us has the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit, vtnetwork.org/upliftvt. Together we can Uplift Vermont!