This week is National Crime Victim’s Rights Week, dedicated to raising awareness about the impact crime has on its victims.

One common crime and one Arizona ranks in the top five, is domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse survivor advocates like those at the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse are serving as the bridge between being a victim and a survivor who finds healing.

The plight of a domestic abuse victim doesnt stop after the act has been done; in fact, these victims often have a long road to recovery.

“Theyre trying to have a form of safety thats just a basic human right,” said the organization’s CEO, Ed Sakwa when asked if there are any commonalities he sees when victims seek help.

Every year, there are on average 100 deaths due to domestic violence in Arizona, according to the Maricopa County Attorneys Office.

Sakwa emphasized the need to look beyond just the statistics.

“We have to look beyond those numbers and know that there are human beings,” he said. “Peoples daughters and sisters and friends and coworkers behind those numbers.”

With 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women being victims of domestic abuse, Sakwa said no one is immune from becoming a victim or knowing someone who may be one.

“When we think about the human beings behind it and the fact that [it] could easily be us or somebody in our lives, it becomes real different,” he said.

The group’s focus is on providing help to all domestic abuse survivors, but more specifically to those who may be victims of abuse that arent always criminal according to the law.

He said things like verbal abuse and manipulation are still forms of abuse even if the abuser can’t be charged criminally.

“If we as human beings know that that is wrong and that that person is being victimized by that, then its something we have to pay just as much attention to,” he explained.

Sakwa said their mission is never complete until every survivor who walks through the door gets to a place of healing.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse and needs resources, you can visit Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse’s website.



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