Dallas, May 1, 2012 – Though many areas of life are recovering from the economic downturn, domestic violence shelters throughout the United States report that the economy continues to significantly affect battered women and children. While shelters shine a spotlight on the widespread increase in domestic violence survivors seeking help nationwide, they also highlight a substantial decrease in shelter services, funding sources and prevention efforts to assist victims. In addition, shelters report that the abuse is getting more severe, survivors are staying in abusive relationships longer and shelters expect the situation will only stay the same or get worse in light of the economy – according to the fourth national “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey.”
More than 730 domestic violence shelters across the country were recently surveyed. Detailed national findings from the 2012 “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey” reveal alarming trends in light of the economy’s decline since 2008, including:
  • 78 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide (nearly eight out of ten) report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse.
  • 74 percent of survivors stayed with an abusive partner longer because of financial issues.
  • 58 percent of shelters reported that the abuse is more violent now than before 2008.
  • 87 percent of domestic violence shelters (nearly nine out of ten) expect their overall situation during the next 12 months will be worse than now, or the same as now, due to the economy.
  • 95 percent reported that survivors needed to stay in shelters for longer durations of time.
  • Of shelters that were forced to reduce services, 47 percent decreased childcare efforts, which meant that they were not able to help one in four children.
  • 86 percent of shelters witnessed negative social effects on children such as bullying or withdrawal.
  • 62 percent reported that young women (age 12-24) are requesting help in greater numbers.
  • 92 percent of shelters had to end or scale back specific programs and services.
The survey’s overwhelming trends are remarkably similar in each region of the United States – Northeast, Midwest, South and West. Detailed regional findings are available upon request.
Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence said, “Society has come a long way in the past few decades, creating more comprehensive services and ultimately reducing the rates of domestic violence. But clearly, the ‘Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey’ shows that much more work needs to be done.”
Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline added, “Over the last four years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has received nearly 10,000 more calls for help from survivors of domestic violence and their loved ones. The most requested service from callers is a referral to a shelter in their local community. Unfortunately, the economy has had a devastating impact on local domestic violence shelters. Many have had to reduce their capacity, reduce services and, in some instances, have closed their doors.”
Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc. Vice President and The Mary Kay FoundationSM Board Member noted, “The ‘Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey’ represents more than staggering numbers. It signifies lives in the balance. Domestic violence shelters across the country can mean the difference between life and death, yet the economy continues to plague shelters and the women and children they serve. The truth about abuse is that survivors and their children continue to feel the negative effects of the economy in profound ways. This crime is a community issue. Individuals and businesses must get involved in efforts to educate, prevent, and eventually end, domestic violence.”
Mary Kay’s Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Programs
Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM have continually been leaders in domestic violence awareness and prevention programs. In light of these survey findings, Mary Kay and The Mary Kay Foundation have been responding with the following programs:
  • Lobbying for Good: Since the 1980s, Mary Kay Inc. and its independent sales force members have lobbied Congress and state legislatures on issues including insurance coverage of mammograms for women, the Violence Against Women Act and teen dating violence awareness and prevention.
  • Shelter Grants: Through the support of Mary Kay Inc., The Mary Kay FoundationSM will have awarded more than $31 million to domestic violence prevention programs and women’s shelters in all 50 states by the end of 2012.
  • Nature Explore Classrooms: Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to construct Nature Explore Classrooms to promote the healing powers of nature – the first of their kind to be built at U.S. domestic violence shelters. By the end of 2012, Mary Kay will have funded 17.
  • Beauty That Counts®: In the United States, from Sept. 16 through Dec. 15, 2012, $1 will be donated from each sale of limited-edition* Beauty That Counts® Mary Kay® NouriShine Plus™ Lip Gloss in two shades. Since 2008, Mary Kay has donated millions of dollars from the worldwide sales of Beauty That Counts® products to causes that change the lives of women and children worldwide.
About The “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey”
The fourth “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey” polled 733 domestic violence shelters across the United States about domestic violence and the economy since September 2008, a major turning point in the U.S. economy. The study was conducted online between Feb. 7-17, 2012. Comprehensive 2012 survey findings summarize national and regional results. Past surveys from 2009-2011 are available at: www.marykay.com/survey.
About Mary Kay
Mary Kay is one of the largest direct sellers of skin care and color cosmetics. In 2009, Mary Kay achieved $2.5 billion in wholesale sales worldwide. Mary Kay® products are sold in more than 35 markets around the world, and the global Mary Kay independent sales force exceeds 2 million. To learn more about Mary Kay, log on to www.marykay.com or call 1-800-MARY KAY (1-800-627-9529).