By: Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

The statistics on intimate partner violence (IPV) are harrowing.

The CDC reports that one in four adult women and one in seven men report being the victim of IPV in their lifetime. Twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US on average — 10 million women and men annually.

And perhaps most troubling of all, the World Health Organization reports this type of violence, the most common type of violence, “tends to increase during every type of emergency, including epidemics.”

We cannot drift towards a kind of fatigue in facing the many challenges and inequities COVID-19 exacerbates, including IPV. Those millions of women and men impacted by IPV are depending on us to listen to their lived experiences, pursue policies that center their safety and well-being, and bring the lessons of Domestic Violence Awareness month to our thinking and actions year-round.

IPV intersects with so many problems, from childhood trauma and depression, to homelessness and mass shootings. When we take on IPV we create a safer world for survivors and a safer world for us all.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” Now is the moment to confront the kinds of abuses bound up in IPV – whether financial, psychological, or physical.

We can act as agents of change by educating ourselves, our friends, and our families about the facts of IPV, and also about the need for healthy relationships.

That social and emotional learning needs to be part our education system from pre-k to adult/lifelong learning. From pediatricians to internists, mental health, wellness, and IPV need be incorporated into the regular check-ups and check-ins that we use for our physical health.

As communities, we need to include IPV on our agenda in spaces where we exercise power – from local Build the Block meetings, to community boards, to the City Council itself. Building out of COVID-19, a moment where we regularly ask our family, neighbors, and co-workers if they are okay, how they are doing, if their loved ones are well – we have an opportunity to shift our culture towards one that is more conscientious of the safety and well-being of everyone.

If you or someone you know needs help with IPV in NYC call 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) or dial 311, the New York State Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline is 1-800-942-6906, and the National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.

Photo: Supplied.
Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. represents Brooklyn’s 36th District, covering Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. He serves as Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, the MWBE Task Force, and the Democratic Conference. Before his career in public service, he played professional basketball in the NBA and overseas. He has a Master’s Degree and is a credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC), and has opened a successful residential treatment center. Cornegy lives in Bedford Stuyvesant with his wife, Michelle, and they have a blended family of six children.

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