Letter: Cancer not only unseen danger

From: Lisa Shafran, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services president


As the calendar turns to October we can raise awareness about both domestic violence and breast cancer. Both issues either have, are currently or will most likely affect someone we know.

So, this month among the familiar colors of the fall season we will once again see pink for breast cancer awareness and purple for domestic violence awareness. And for very good reason:

  • About 1 in 8 (12 percent) U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. This number for men is 1 in 1,000.
  • More than 1 in 3 women (35.6 percent) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5 percent) in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
  • 1 in 4 dating teens is harassed or abused through technology.

Although clearly very different issues they bear a striking number of similarities:

  • Both mainly affect women, however not exclusively.
  • Neither discriminate based on age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality.
  • Both have symptoms that should not be ignored before reaching a critical stage.
  • Both affect not only the victim but their families, children, relatives and friends.
  • Both have can have physical, psychological and financial impact.
  • Both produce survivors with a new normal in their lives.
  • Both require inner strength and bravery.
  • Both can involve a long road to recovery with constant support and encouragement.
  • Both can be lethal.
  • Both require broad-based education and action for awareness and prevention.
  • Both require whole communities to come together speak out, and take action find a cure and solution.

So, this October let’s mix a little purple with our pink and vice versa. Collective voice, action and support is our greatest hope and strength. Ask yourself, “What can I do to help?” Let’s make a point of working together to eliminate both for the next generation and beyond.