The Daily Illini

Editorial: The race to help domestic violence victims

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

When women who own pets are embattled in abusive relationships, frequently, their abusers use the pets as control strategies.

In a study conducted with 19 local women who have been abused while simultaneously owning pets, 78.9 percent of them said they lacked control over decisions about their pets. 47.4 percent of them said their pets were used by their abuser as a form of control.

Sometimes, the worry of their pets being harmed will even prevent the victims from leaving or attempting to escape the relationship — especially as many shelters for victims of domestic violence do not allow pets to stay with their owners.

The University brings in puppies to libraries during finals periods for the sole purpose of relieving stress; when many of us go home, the first thing we do after greeting our parents is fall at the heels of our dogs; animals have even been shown to stop panic attacks. They provide an instant relief.

Animals offer comfort and feelings of safety — and for women who have been abused, comfort and safety are paramount to succeeding outside of those relationships or escaping them.

Domestic abuse victims shouldn’t have to make a choice or have to give up their pets to escape. Instead, the animals should be able to assist them during the transition and provide the security they need most. This is where the University comes in.

The Road Race for Animals took place yesterday, with proceeds benefiting the Wildlife Medical Clinic and A Pet’s Place — the latter being a student-run organization that takes care of pets who belong to women who are staying in local domestic abuse shelters.

Not only is the philanthropy event interesting and fun to participate in, which motivates students to get involved and help the organization, but it benefits a philanthropy that can hopefully start to solve the issue of what women will do with their pets when they escape these relationships — making it easier for them to leave in as safe a way as possible.

With the state of Illinois halting funding to domestic violence agencies, it’s possible that programs and shelters that get money from the government to stay open may have to shut down. They may not be able to provide the necessary resources to help women escape or draw awareness to domestic violence as a whole.

Efforts like these that draw attention not only to domestic violence but the intricacies surrounding it are crucial now, especially considering the loss of funding. We cannot forget how sensitive this issue is, as well as how difficult it can be for women to escape it. Anything we can do, whether it’s The Road Race, a donation or helping someone in need is necessary to helping these women in need.

Leave a Comment