Thirty-one percent of New York women and 29% of men experience issues with intimate partners, according to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence works to help and find services for victims.
The network surveyed 91% of domestic violence programs in New York state about their activity levels in 2022. The group found the programs housed 5,600 victims of domestic violence, and 3,400 victims that received other services, such as legal help, transportation and mental health work. Domestic violence hotlines were contacted more than 1,500 times. Nearly 400 New Yorkers were educated through 21 different public training sessions.
Still, the National Network to End Domestic Violence found about 950 requests for services were unable to be fulfilled due to a lack of resources.
Heather Bell-Meyer says anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. The Orange County Chamber of Commerce president is herself a survivor.
“Don't be embarrassed," she said. "Share your story because you're going to help somebody else,” she said.
So when she heard about what Eric Egeland was doing with a cross-country motorcycle ride to raise awareness and money for domestic violence, she felt a calling.
Egeland, the vice president for Capacity Marketing, said doing a solo ride around North America has long been a dream, but he wanted to raise money for an organization that could directly helps folks in need. He picked Fearless!, a Hudson Valley-based nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
What You Need To Know
- Orange County resident Eric Egeland is embarking on a ride around North America to raise money for domestic violence awareness
- The trip will cross through five Canadian provinces and more than a dozen United States for a total of about 7,488 miles traveled
- The money raised, over $10,000 so far, will go toward nonprofit FEARLESS! Hudson Valley
“Through counseling, through legal help, through safe homes. They can get a person out of a domestic abuse situation or trafficking, even children, and help them immediately," he said.
His ride will go up through five Canadian provinces, back down to Seattle, through the western U.S., back over the Mississippi, along the Midwest and finally ending in Goshen.
It's a trip that will cover about 7,488 miles. The mileage total is no coincidence: It's the number of people that Fearless! Hudson Valley helped last year.
Egeland said he’s already raised $10,000, and is hoping to raise at least $5,000 more. He thinks that by speaking to folks face to face, all over the country and Canada, he can further raise awareness person by person.
“I've had so many women that I know walk up to me and say, 'That happened to me,'" Egeland said. "They don't want to say it out loud, they don't necessarily want to be a spokesperson, but it happened to them. And it's absolutely amazing.”
Bell-Meyer said she’s proud to be a part of this as a way to spread the word and raise money, one mile at a time.
“There's so many platforms out there to bring awareness to domestic violence, but sometimes you really have to just drive it home on a smaller capacity," she said.
You can find more information about Egeland'’s ride, including where to donate, through this link.