By Tamie Sullivan
Women Helping Women (WHW), the leading regional resource for rapid crisis response and the prevention of gender-based violence, hosted more than 150 key business leaders, elected officials and violence prevention activists at its 6th Annual Corporate Breakfast last month. Participants heard the most recent data trends regarding the intersection of gender-based violence and gun violence and discussed ways that all forms of violence are preventable.
Data shows that 53% of mass shooters have a history of domestic violence. And 70% of survivors report that their perpetrators came to work. As violence continues to increase throughout our local community and the nation, business leaders are being asked to join a broad coalition of community members seeking innovative solutions.
With a 300% increase in domestic violence homicides in Hamilton County alone, WHW plans to expand workplace training using WorkStrong to help prevent violence. Gender-based violence costs businesses over $8 billion annually nationwide and nearly 75% of survivors were harassed by their partner while at work.
“We don’t have time to sit in the moment, we need to activate now. What happens in the home, flows into the streets and walks into the workplaces. But we are not powerless. Our clear message to leaders is that we CAN do something about it,” said Kristin Shrimplin, CEO of Women Helping Women. “We have ways of identifying red flags in our region and in our workplaces and we have workable solutions to prevent and disrupt violence.”
Mayor Aftab Pureval addressed participants with deep concern for the issues, as well as hope for what can be accomplished when all of us get involved. Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Kearney also attended the event.
Several solutions discussed to build momentum and make a difference in the workplace include:
• Support DVERT, a trauma focused crisis response team that provides on-call, on-scene response to domestic violence survivors, to prevent gender-based violence and to prevent children from growing up in violent homes, throughout Hamilton County.
• Advocate for WHW’s nationally recognized workplace training program, WorkStrong®, to empower businesses to prevent violence impacting the workplace.
• Partner with advocates to support survivors in the workplace and in the community.
Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, the nation’s largest grassroots effort fighting gun violence, was the keynote speaker at the breakfast with a strong message on fighting for public safety measures that can protect people, workplaces, students and families from gun violence.
“If more guns made us safe, we would be the safest country in the world, said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and the keynote speaker at the breakfast. “This should not be a polarizing issue – the majority of Americans support common sense gun laws,” she said, stressing that hand-gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color and the need to vote for gun sense candidates.
Partnerships with business and community leaders can help drive culture shifts to improve safety and vitality throughout our region. With the help of corporate/business partners, WHW’s goal is to increase programming local companies, while maintaining a strong focus on women and minority-owned businesses, to promote a safe workplace through best-practice policy support, bystander training and connection of employees experiencing gender-based violence to WHW expert advocates.
To learn more about WHW’s DVERT and WorkStrong programs, visit womenhelpingwomen.org.