MANASSAS, Va. (WDVM) — On Tuesday, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) hosted a roundtable on domestic violence bringing together domestic violence experts, survivors, and advocates from across Virginia’s 10th congressional district.
At a table of mostly women, Wexton discussed ways to support survivors of domestic violence and hold abusers accountable.
“Nobody should be in fear for their safety in their own home and there are resources available and we want to make sure victims and survivors are aware that those resources exist,” she said.
Those in attendance included domestic violence experts, survivors, and advocates. While discussing the most common challenges that victims face several national issues were brought up.
“Affordability of housing is something that impacts everybody no matter which part of the district you live in,” Wexton explained.
According to advocate, Faith Power, who works with the Laurel Center in Winchester, domestic violence is the number one reason that women become homeless.
“Without that housing what we know absolutely is that they don’t have a lot of options. Some of those options are they go back to their abuser. If they’re fortunate enough to have a car they’ll live in their car and if they don’t have a car many of them will go and live on the street,” Power explained.
Some even said the current culture and fear surrounding immigration can also be a barrier for victims of domestic violence.
“They feel unwelcome, they also might be undocumented and feel like they don’t want to go to a courthouse or engage with the police. The offender also may tell them they if they go to the police or the courthouse they might get deported,” said Cortney Fisher with the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “And most times we find that they are here legally.”
The roundtable took place during domestic violence awareness month which was created in October 1981 as a “day of unity” to connect battered women’s advocates across the country.