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The Dream of a Diploma is Still Within Reach for Survivors

Picture of young woman in cap and gown

It’s graduation season, a time to reflect on hard work, celebrate achievement, and look forward to the future. But for many who were unable to make it across that stage, domestic violence was one of the determining factors holding them back from their dreams.

According to research published in the journal: Review of Behavioral Economics, 1 in 5 Americans will drop out of high school, and of those millions, 34 percent of girls, and 29 percent of boys reported being a survivor of domestic violence before the age of 16. When it comes to sexual abuse, 21 percent of girls, and 6 percent of boys reported being survivors. And the abuse potential graduates endure does not have to be physical for it to keep them from their full academic potential.

Over 66 percent of survivors have reported verbal abuse disrupting their studying and ability to do schoolwork. Abusers can also disrupt their ability to complete school by not allowing them access to money to pay for classes or transportation, socially isolating the survivor, and damaging or destroying their personal property. And while the loss of a degree can be measured in dollars and cents ($427,000 less earned over a lifetime for a 2-year degree, and $822,000 for a 4-year degree), the loss of a survivor’s safety and health can cause damage that is unable to be measured.  

With our innovative, low barrier to entry programs, DASH has seen firsthand how providing safety and security to survivors can reverse the negative effects of abuse and foster healthy habits which lead to accomplishments as small as earning their degree, and as big as restoring their sense of self.  

We proudly congratulate all the participants in DASH’s programs who will be graduating this year.  

This is only the beginning of your story!  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

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