By: Shari Inniss-Grant, FellowPosted on February 14, 2013 Issues: Connecting the Issues

As individuals willing to give voice to troubling problems and struggle towards difficult solutions, we rise on behalf of women.

As partners, advocates, family and friends, we rise in collaboration with survivors.

As a global community, we rise through women’s progress.

Rise for VAWA!These are the simple but fundamental truths V-day encourages us to reflect on. While it is often painful and uncomfortable to talk about the culture of violence and oppression that leads to 1 in 3 women being assaulted, beaten, or raped in her lifetime, the alternative is unthinkable. Silence is not an answer. Ignorance, as we’ve seen through the intense backlash against misguided statements related to assault, is not bliss. And the problem will not simply go away if we leave it alone.

However tattered, ugly, or shocking the truth may be, only by addressing facts rather than falling back on myths can we craft solutions (be they legislative, cultural or community-based) that truly improve people’s lives.

Myth 1: Violence against women is rare.

Truth: Violence toward women is extremely common. 1 in 3 women, approximately, 1 billion women, will experience violence in her lifetime. A perpetrator is more likely to be an intimate partner or family member than a stranger. In the U.S. a woman is beaten or assaulted every 9 seconds.

Myth 2: Only certain kinds of women will experience violence.

Truth: Violence affects people of all classes, cultures, countries, religions, races and ages. Perpetrators include doctors, ministers, police officers, lawyers, and business executives. While women in their teens to early 20s experience the highest rate of domestic violence, domestic violence affected nearly 6% of couples over 60.

Myth 3: Domestic violence is only a problem between men and women.

Truth: 7-45% of lesbians report having been the victim of a least one act of physical violence perpetrated by a lesbian partner. Domestic violence within the LGBT community is vastly underreported and unacknowledged.

Myth 4: This is a private problem; it doesn’t have a serious impact on society. 

Truth: Violence against women is “an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace.” It undermines women’s ability to work, to raise their children, to maintain a home, and to live the lives they desire.

Myth 5: There is nothing we can do.

Truth: Everyone can and should take action in support of their mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, teachers, colleagues, and neighbors.