October is domestic violence awareness month, and the YWCA is asking the Billings community to take a stand for the one in three Montana women whose life will be affected by domestic violence, stalking or harassment.
The YWCA's new "Take a Stand" social media campaign is meant to address the question of why women stay in violent relationships. YWCA's Director of Programs Erin Lambert asks that people take a moment to consider the hardships these women experience that many in the community will never face.
The responsibility lies with the community, our businesses, friends and neighbors to address the isolation these women feel, Lambert said.
Since the turn of the millennium, 162 Montanans have died because of violence from intimate partners, according to the YWCA.
First Interstate Bank, EideBailly, MSUB Phoenix Center and Western Security Bank are among some of the businesses with employees wearing purple to show support for victims. In addition, the YWCA will be sending out photos of survivors quoting, "Why I stayed."
From 2015 to 2016, the YWCA provided 7,857 nights of safe shelter to 143 women and 116 children. In addition, 405 adults and 132 children were provided resources through the YWCA. It is continuing to expand the services it offers including on-site legal support and clinical services.
YWCA is waiting to hear from the Montana Board of Housing on whether it will be given $3.8 million in federal tax credits to construct Gateway Vista. The $4.6 million project is aimed at providing affordable housing to families that have lost their homes because of domestic violence.
This would mean people who had used YWCA services or were provided shelter would be able to begin to rebuild their lives while still having access to YWCA support.
The YWCA will be notified of the Montana Board of Housing's decision in January 2017.
To learn more about YWCA support services, call 245-4472 or text 406-702-0229 24 hours a day. In Big Horn County, call 679-5145 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. People can also check out YWCABillings.org.