Everyone has a right to feel safe from violence, but the unfortunate reality is that many people do not—and often suffer in silence.
Each October, with the help of the BWH Center for Community Health and Health Equity (CCHHE), BWH takes part in national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year, the Brigham broadened its efforts, recognizing the month as Interpersonal Violence Awareness Month to raise awareness of not only domestic violence, but all forms of violence that occur in communities, homes and workplaces.
“Exposure to interpersonal violence affects the health and wellness of our patients, our staff and our community,” said Mardi Chadwick, JD, director of Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs for the CCHHE. “As a health care institution, it’s critical that we acknowledge the experience of trauma and violence, while also working to understand and address their causes and impacts.”
Victims and survivors may face multiple forms of trauma, with differing experiences depending on race, gender identity, class, sexual identity and socioeconomic status. That’s why it’s vital to understand how the traumatic effects of racism, poverty, discrimination based on sexual or gender identity and other issues affect the health of those who experience violence, Chadwick added.
Several events will be held this month at BWH to generate awareness of interpersonal violence. The hospital’s “Do No Harm” campaign will also be visible on the TV screens across BWH, featuring personal messages of hope and support from Brigham staff. Photographer and author Kathy Shorr, who works with survivors of gun violence, will discuss her work on Friday, Oct. 14, 12–2 p.m., in Bornstein Amphitheater. A service on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 12–1 p.m., in the BWH Chapel, will honor all victims, survivors and community members affected by violence and trauma.