by Jessie Richards, PhD (FADV Co-Founder and Advisory Director)
*a version of this post was originally published in the 2019 Winter Issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
Utah, 1 in 3
I’m going to get real for a minute, and I need you all to stick with me because our silence around this issue is literally killing people. In Utah, 1 in 3 women will experience some form of domestic violence this year. Also, in Utah, approximately 40 percent of adult homicides are related to domestic violence. And the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in lost productivity alone, domestic violence costs businesses more than $729 million a year, often climbing higher than $4 billion when medical and mental health care costs are included.
Despite the impact of domestic violence on the population, workplace cultures, and business profitability, very few workplaces have programs in place to support people in unsafe relationships. But Utah can be the state to change all that. Utah is in a unique position to be a national leader on this issue. Our philanthropic culture, our start-up mania, and our focus on families are all factors contributing to a statewide movement by Utah businesses to alleviate burdens and barriers for victims/survivors and to support employees in these situations.
The Toll of Domestic Violence in our Communities
I was fourteen when I met my abuser. He was eighteen. He became controlling and possessive, and by fifteen I was pregnant. I wanted an abortion, but he talked me out of it. The baby died due to a chromosomal abnormality.