LANSING — State Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods), co-chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus (PWC) Gender Violence Task Force, and PWC member state Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) each introduced resolutions this week to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the state of Michigan. The recognition provides space to foster unity among survivors and advocates from across the country since it was first designated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981. The resolutions will serve as part of a larger legislative rollout throughout the month.

          “In order to adequately address domestic violence in our state, we must call it out for what it truly is: an epidemic,” said Rep. Yancey. “Dedicating a month of awareness across Michigan is an important first step toward protecting the safety and public health of all our residents — but our work can’t and won't end here.”  

          According to the Michigan State Police’s Crime in Michigan publication, there were over 90,000 reported victims and 105 murders related to domestic violence in 2017 alone. Many additional instances of domestic violence in Michigan, and across the nation, remain unreported due to numerous barriers, including the stigma that still surrounds and prevents survivors from coming forward. 

“Domestic violence is a very serious problem that affects every community, regardless of career, wealth or background,” Sen. Bayer said. “It’s so important for all of us to work together to speak up and speak out so victims of abuse know that they are not alone. To tell them that we see you, we hear you, and that we will continue to share their truths and work toward a world in which domestic violence no longer exists.” 

Under current Michigan law, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior in which an individual uses physical, sexual, emotional or psychological, or economic abuse to control another person. Throughout the month, PWC members and allies will introduce legislation to fill the glaring holes currently present in Michigan’s protections for survivors and their families. The PWC is committed to working together to educate Michigan residents about what can be done to prevent domestic violence, support the individual and unique needs of survivors, and ensure survivors are not re-victimized.