PrideVMC is proud to share this article from our Gold Partner, Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Author: Dr. Hillary Noyes
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. Also referred to as relationship violence and intimate partner violence to capture the many forms it can take, domestic violence is all too common. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe relationship violence.
While historically, awareness and advocacy efforts have centered women in heterosexual relationships, relationship violence affects people of all genders and relationship orientations. In fact, relationship violence may affect LGBTQ+ community members at even higher rates. To compound this, LGBTQ+ survivors may be even less inclined to report or seek help for many reasons, including fear of stigma, homophobia among service providers, limitations of services to “women” only, or risk of being outed.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a helpful article with more information and resources for help here: https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/domestic-violence-and-the-lgbtq-community
So, what does this have to do with Hill’s Pet Nutrition?
Our mission statement is “To enrich and lengthen the special relationship between people and their pets.” The human-animal bond is at the pinnacle of everything we do.
Unfortunately, domestic violence significantly affects pets as well as people. Nearly half of survivors in at least 12 studies have reported delaying leaving their abuser out of fear for their pet’s safety. Up to 71% of victims have witnessed their partner threaten and/or hurt their pet. Animal abuse is a better predictor of sexual assault than previous convictions for homicide, arson or firearms charges. This is often referred to as “The Link” between animal abuse and violence against humans.
Ok, cool, but what is Hill’s gonna do about it?
Well, quite a bit, actually! Hill’s is undertaking a concerted effort to positively impact the lives of pets and people experiencing domestic violence through a combination of local and national efforts.
Locally, our first and biggest project is a partnership between the Hill’s Women’s Network and one of our hometown domestic violence shelters here in Topeka, KS, to build a program to safely house the pets of survivors residing in the shelter. We are building a network of foster homes to protect these pets while their owners move toward safety. We will be sponsoring any medical, pet supply and pet food needs the pets may have that the owners are unable to provide during this difficult time of transition.
The Hill’s Women’s Network is also raising awareness about domestic violence among its employees all month, with a digital ribbon campaign, informational emails and facilitating a community of support and hope within the Hill’s family.
We hope you’ll join us in taking action to break the cycle of relationship violence – whether it’s taking a small step to raise awareness, donating to an advocacy organization, contributing your veterinary and/or boarding services to a similar program in your area (or starting one!), helping a loved one formulate an escape plan or getting the help that you need yourself.
If you or a loved one are facing abuse, please visit www.thehotline.org for free help.
PrideVMC honors our Gold Partner Hill’s Pet Nutrition for their support and collaboration.