VOICES: ‘Domestic violence is the No. 1 health issue for black women’

This guest opinion column by Shannon Isom appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, October 4.

The YWCA believes that all lives matter; and because of this, it is without hesitation to deduce that Black Lives Matter.

We believe in parity, justice; we believe in dignity.

For 150 years, the YWCA Dayton has always chosen equality, equity and justice; and we have chosen the mission, even while others were choosing the lesser. Our history and our mission is rooted in gender equity. And because we believe in parity, we know that in order to have true gender equity, our work has to be rooted in racial equity. It is in racial equity that gender equity is revealed.

Forty percent of all Black women experience intimate physical violence, which is 31.5% higher than all other women’s rates combined.

Domestic violence is the No. 1 health issue for Black women; and Black women are 2.7 times more likely to die due to domestic violence than our white counterparts.

This has been actualized within our community. In Dayton, multiple Black women have died, victims to intimate partner violence. All have been shot at the hands of a partner. The many women who have lost their lives, lost their lives while at a store, in the car, and at home — everyday activities. Their lives have not received much attention; have not been picked up by multiple media outlets, nor has seen a community outcry.

Their names have not been part of a march or a protest; nor have their names been outwardly spoken by their high school principals, city officials and not by our Ohio governor. Others' loss of life has been recognized, and rightly so.

The loss of their lives was no accident; but instead, an act of predatory violence. And although I know the numbers, I know the disparities, I know that women suffer in intimate partner violence and Black women suffer more in this type of suffering, I know black women lose their life. Yet — it still makes me pause to hear the silence at tables, in rooms, in media outlets, and in this community at the loss of at least four black women who have been killed in intimate partner relationships and no one says their names. The YWCA Dayton believes in parity and justice; we believe that Black lives matter.

Shannon Isom is president and CEO of YWCA Dayton. Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces of 300 to 450 words. Proposed pieces should include links to any research or statistics cited. Have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com.