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JWU HSC 1120 - Violence Against the Homeless

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Acosta 1Lorraine AcostaHSC 112011 April 2019Violence Against the HomelessAlberta Williams lost her virginity when she was 13. Her friend’s four brothers took turnsraping her, after her friend helped tie her down. A half-century later, she recalled it as a turning point in an already difficult life that would, for four decades, become dominated by drug use and on-and-off homelessness. “I never got over what happened,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “From that day on, I grew up in age but in my mind I stayed 13 years old.”Three out of four women in the District who are homeless and living without children are survivors of violence, according to a new report by the D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness. These women are especially vulnerable to continuing violence while they are homeless. Almost 63% reported at least one act of violence against them during their current episode of homelessness or housing instability.A Florida study examining the experience of violence among 800 homeless women foundthat a significant number of women were victimized in their lifetime, and almost one-quarter of the women indicated that violence was one, if not the main reason they were homeless. This study also found that approximately one homeless woman in four is homeless mainly because of her experiences with violence and that homeless women are far more likely to experience violence of all sorts than American women in general, by differentials ranging from two to four depending on the specific type of violence in question. In a 2012 survey of 25 cities, 28% of Mayors cited domestic violence as a leading cause of homelessness among families with children(Conference of Mayors, 2012). In a cross-sectional study that examined the relationship betweenAcosta 2recent interpersonal violence and housing instability among a representative sample of Californiawomen, women who experienced interpersonal violence in the last year had almost four times the odds of reporting housing instability than women who did not experience interpersonal violence.Women and men who experienced food and housing insecurity in the past 12 months reported a significantly higher 12-month prevalence of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner compared to women and men who did not experience food and housing insecurity (Pavao, et al, 143-146). Study after study and survey after survey, violence has been shown to be linked to homelessness in a number of levels. From domestic violence to rape and assault, homeless individuals, especially women, face an increased risk to experiencing these atrocities.Acosta 3ReferencesChandler, Michael Alison. “For Homeless Women, Violence Is a Pervasive Part of Their Past andPresent, Report Shows.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Feb. 2018,“Domestic Violence and Homelessness: Statistics (2016).” ACF, 24 June 2016,“Intimate Partner Violence and Housing Instability.” Pavao, J., Alvarez, J., Baumrind, N., Induni,M., & Kimerling, R. (2007). American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(2),

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