The statistics tell a grim story.
One out of three women is or will be a victim of domestic violence. Twenty percent of the 1.5 million people who experience domestic violence each year seek restraining orders against their attackers and half of those orders are violated.
Domestic violence is one of the most chronically under-reported crimes in the United States: only one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes and one-half of stalking incidents are reported, according to information on display at a rally against domestic violence held in the HCC Courtyard Thursday.
"We're gathered here to take a stand against senseless acts and support victims of domestic violence," said HCC student Jennifer Taylor, the rally organizer. "We are here to take a stand together and show support."
Taylor, wearing purple in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, led the crowd in chants: "Do not wait until it's too late. Now is the time." Supporters held signs ("Silence = Compliance," "Silence = Violence," "Love Shouldn't Hurt.") and wore purple ribbons.
Representatives from Safe Passage, the YWCA of Springfield, Womanshelter Companeras and the Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project were on hand to distribute literature and talk to students about the support services their organizations offer to victims of domestic violence.
Taylor said she is herself a survivor of domestic violence, so the issue is "near and dear to my heart."
"If we can reach one victim and they seek help because of the event here today, that would be an extraordinary success," she said.
Photos: (Left) Students hold signs at a rally against domestice violence in the HCC Courtyard Thursday. (Right) rally organizer Jennifer Taylor holds a sign.