WEST ENGLEWOOD— More than a third of women in West Englewood and Humboldt Park have been victims of domestic violence, the highest level in the city, a survey found.
The Sinai Community Health Survey looked at more than 1,900 people living in nine neighborhoods around the city: Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, Hermosa, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Norwood Park, South Lawndale, West Englewood and a portion of West Town. Read the full survey here.
The percentage of women who have experienced intimate partner violence ranged from a high of 36 percent for women in West Englewood and Humboldt Park to a low of 13 percent for women in Gage Park, according to the survey.
[Provided by Sinai Community Health]
Citywide, more than half of non-Hispanic Black adults and women of Puerto Rican origin reported witnessing domestic violence.
Tamar Manasseh, the founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, nicknamed the “Army of Moms,” said that group understands and recognizes that domestic violence is a growing concern in the community. The group normally focuses its attention on young people and preventing retaliatory violence in the streets, but on April 13 it plans to raise awareness of the issue while on the corner of 55th and Loomis during spring break for Chicago Public Schools.
“We feel that domestic violence is a big enough issue right now in our community that we need to address it,” Manasseh said. “It’s a problem and we feel like the other kinds of violence stems from domestic issues at home.”
She said it's an issue that adults rarely discuss, but it’s understood that it takes place. Manasseh said advocates often learn about a situation through a child who reports fights between parents.
The WINGS Program provides women battling domestic violence a safe house, among other resources. CEO Rebecca Darr said anyone can be a victim and that it’s important to understand that they are not at fault. This problem is tougher on those living in poverty, she said.
“If I’m a mom with kids and I have no way to feed them, what are my options?” she questioned. “I stay in the situation and figure out how to make it work or I end up homeless and that’s not a better option.”
It’s domestic violence advocacy groups and local partners like community churches that are desperately needed, she said, because neither the government nor the judicial system are doing enough to help.
“I think that we as a society don’t realize that if you’re a victim of violence, whether it’s domestic violence, or any violence, you’re not escaping that unless we all put our arms around you and help you transcend that,” Darr said.
Women and men who find themselves in those situations need support and intervention, she said, highlighting the major red flags as “power and control.”
“It takes a lot of courage to say and to know that I’m not a victim, that I’m a product of what’s around me ... and that I didn’t cause [the violence] because it’s not my fault,” Darr said.