On average, one in four women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, and more than three women and one man are murdered as a result of domestic violence every day. Each year, between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence in their household. And nearly three out of four Americans know someone personally who’s been abused by a spouse or partner. (reported by Domestic Violence Resource Center – dvrc-or.org)

Domestic violence doesn’t just affect the victim; it impacts kids, family, friends, and the community as a whole.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – a time set aside to help end violence in the home, and raise community awareness about domestic violence. To commemorate this time of awareness, YWCA Sonoma County is hosting three nights of author readings at their 4th annual “Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” coming up in October.  They are inviting writers of all abilities to address the issue of domestic violence through poetry, flash fiction, and memoir.

Past years have seen this topic shared through art, song, haiku, or slam poetry. Some writers have been survivors of domestic abuse, some have witnessed it through family or friends, and some have never experienced domestic violence at all but just wish to write about it.

To participate: Flash fiction and memoir pieces should not exceed 1000 words. Up to three poems may be submitted, but the total number of pages of poetry shall not exceed three. Entries should be in Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced. Poetry may be single-spaced.

Please submit electronically in a Word document to Michelle Wing at wingpoet@gmail.com. Include the author’s name, city of residence, phone number, and e-mail address. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 15, 2013.

More information on “Changing Hurt to Hope” and writing guidelines can be found at www.ywcasc.org.

YWCA Sonoma County operates the only confidential safe house in Sonoma County for women and children fleeing domestic violence.  The services they offer include support groups, therapeutic and legal services, family advocacy, community education and professional development training. Their mission is to serve those struggling with domestic violence and help them create lives free from violence. For more information on the YWCA Sonoma County, YWCA USA and YWCA World, please visit www.ywcasc.org.