Mike Clark was at a Seattle Mariners game in 2012 when he saw a poster advertising a 5K walk/run whose finish line was right on Safeco Field.
With the possibility of experiencing an awe-inspiring moment that few have experienced, Clark quickly signed up and began fundraising for the M’s partner charity, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“An interesting thing happened,” Clark reflects. “People began to share their stories of domestic violence survival with me. Many were people that I knew well, but had no idea of their experiences. They didn’t talk about it.”
The Refuse To Abuse 5k at Safeco Field, July 21, is a unique run/walk that takes participants around every level of Safeco Field, from the top to the players’ tunnel to the final lap around the field. Building on the 22-year partnership between the Seattle Mariners and WSCADV to promote healthy, respectful relationships through the Refuse To Abuse campaign, each year, prominent Mariners players such as Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager share the message with hundreds of thousands of fans that we all have a role to play in ending domestic violence.
”I grew up a big sports guy, so to have an organizations like the Mariners stand behind this cause has been significant,” Clark says. “Domestic violence is 100 per cent preventable, but we need to talk about it.”
Since his first Refuse To Abuse 5k, Clark has become a vocal advocate for raising awareness about domestic violence and its prevention; he’s also raised more than $25,000 to date, and hopes to top $30,000 this year.
Supporting the WSCADV’s programs and advocacy, funds will support work with teens and youth engagement, the development of concrete tools to help start conversations with young people about healthy relationships, and the coalition’s work to advocate for better laws and programming to prevent future violence for survivors of abuse.
“No one is too young or too old to talk about what a healthy relationship looks like and feels like,” says Kelly Starr, WSCADV Director of Public Affairs. “We know that domestic violence is preventable, and we all have a role to play in stopping this violence before it starts.”
Consider the sobering statistics, with far-reaching implications:On just one day, Washington domestic violence programs can serve 2,082 survivors and children.
In all, 43 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men in Washington – about 1,810,000 people – have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point.
Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children – more than 80 per cent of homeless mothers with children have previously experienced domestic violence, meaning it’s important for housing and domestic violence service providers to work together.
To find the domestic violence program in your community, visit wscadv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800- 787-3224 (TTY).
To play a role in domestic violence prevention, register today for the Refuse To Abuse 5K at Safeco Field at refusetoabuse5k.org.