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December is a month for reflection … and respecting human rights

Back in December 1948, as the world was recovering from World War II, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Much of what is in this document originated from the United States’ own Bill of Rights. But the Universal Declaration is much broader: It provides the most fundamental international agreement for combating violence against women, as it declares in Article A the equal rights of women and men, including the right to personal security. That’s why Turning Points Network is proud to join with sister agencies and 160 nations in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The right to personal security seems like it should be such a given. Yet intimate partner violence is still all too common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience sexual violence involving physical violence in their lifetimes. For justice to prevail, the right to personal security and the commitment to the end of sex violence needs to become the norm in all countries.

December is traditionally a month of reflection and peace, with cold weather in the Northen latitudes heralding in the holiday season, and all nations marking the passage from one year to the next.

But holidays can also be a stressful time for survivors of relationship violence—some are displaced from their families as they seek shelter from abusers—others are reminded constantly of their unsafe surroundings or the looming potential for abuse, even as they seek peace for themselves and their children. For individuals who identify as LGBTIQA+ the holidays can be both isolating and confrontational with acquaintances who don’t support different orientations or ways of being in the world.

You may know someone who is a survivor; if so, support them throughout this challenging season. Should you or a loved one experience abuse or threats of abuse, know that Turning Points Network is here to listen and offer support or shelter as needed. You can reach us 24/7, 365 days a year just by calling 1-800-639-3130.

We all deserve the freedom, equality and justice outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are all worthy of respect and kindness. This December, let us strive to reflect the ideal of peace, protection, and security outlined in the Declaration for all of us—both at home and throughout our region.

OUR TURN is a public service series by Turning Points Network (TPN) serving all of Sullivan County with offices in Claremont and Newport. We provide wraparound support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and sex trafficking and we present violence-prevention education programs in our schools. For more than 40 years, TPN has helped people of all ages move from the darkness of abuse toward the light of respect, healing, and hope. For information contact 1.800.639.3130 or www.turningpointsnetwork.org or find us on Facebook.

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