October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's a topic that's been in the news a lot this year with several professional football players involved in high-profile cases. The director of SafeHouse Center believes society is taking the issue a lot more seriously.
SafeHouse Center provides services to about 5,000 victims of domestic violence in Washtenaw County each year. Executive Director Barbara Niess May has seen a change in the way the issue is addressed over the last two decades. "There were too many people that didn't even see what was wrong with sexual assault and domestic violence. Now if I'm in a room of people we all agree that domestic violence and sexual assaults are wrong. Our next threshold is accountability. How are we going to hold offenders accountable," she says.
Niess May says since men are so often involved in the process of holding abusers accountable, it's important they understand the hows and whys of domestic violence.
She's seeing progress in getting more men involved in the fight. Twice as many people signed up for SafeHouse Center's Men's Campaign this year. The program also raised twice as much money for life saving services than it did in 2013.