Unfortunately, we know their names as well as we know their faces, what position they play, and their stats from last night’s game. Greg Hardy. Ray Rice. Jeff Taylor. Adrian Peterson. Richie Incognito. Hope Solo.
Over the past year, the world of sports has opened our eyes to a national epidemic that, if not addressed, could ruin the lives of our children, mothers, wives, husbands, friends and neighbors. The alarming fact, however, is that instances of bullying and domestic violence are closer to us than the superstar athlete cases we’ve read in the news. It’s in our communities, in our neighborhoods, and in our schools. Here are some facts you might not know:
- 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime
- Men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults in the U.S.
- Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year
- Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies
So what is the Charlotte community doing to end bullying and domestic violence for good? Organizations like the Jaime Kimble Foundation for Courage are raising awareness. The Foundation is “dedicated to funding initiatives with defined outcomes that prevent domestic violence, intervening in potentially abusive situations involving young adults, and encouraging community-wide engagement around preventing domestic violence.”
And because sport organizations have the capability to reach the masses and the capacity to leverage social change, these groups are getting involved, too. The Charlotte Hornets Foundation is “committed to inspiring a philanthropic culture and strengthening the Charlotte region through intentional partnerships, charitable giving and social projects in the areas of education, wellness, hunger, and non-profit partnerships. Northeastern’s own Center for the Study of Sport in Society also “uses sport as a platform to promote social justice,” especially incorporating its mission into their violence prevention program for athletes and coaches.
Finally, school systems are getting involved, teaching kids through after-school and youth-based programs the values of hard work, togetherness and kindness.
Northeastern University-Charlotte brought this discussion to the forefront during our “Local Leaders. Global Impact.” event on May 5, 2015.