Citing a growing number of reported gender-based violence cases in Greater Cincinnati, Women Helping Women President and CEO Kristin Smith Shrimplin says there is a disturbing pattern with the way victims are treated.
Smith Shrimplin spoke Thursday at the organization's annual Community Leader breakfast at The Westin Cincinnati. She says Women Helping Women is not a political agency, only commenting on policy and actions that negatively affect survivors.
Referencing the #MeToo movement she said,"The national narrative has changed in its belief of survivors and its treatment of survivors. Supporting survivors is not open for political debate."
"We have had enough of the fundamental disrespect and disregard, the violation and victimization in our region and in the U.S. of survivors," Smith Shrimplin told a crowd that broke into applause.
The Numbers Continue To Go Up
So far in 2018, Women Helping Women says it served 5,939 survivors compared to a total of 5,792 in 2017. Smith Shrimplin says this is the new normal. This year a new team of volunteers, DVERT, is helping as they respond to calls with police and take survivors and their children to safe places.
Assistant Cincinnati Police Chief Michael John also spoke Thursday, citing numbers for the last three years. He says in 2015 there were 1,700 reports of gender-based violence; 1,800 in 2016; and 1,943 in 2017. Nine people died in 2017.
Gender-based violence on college campuses also continues to be a problem. Women Helping Women increased its services there by 60 percent.
At the Thursday breakfast, the organization also called for businesses to take on a greater role in identifying possible victims by participating in the program WorkStrong.