October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), which evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence is about ascertaining power and control through fear and intimidation over another person with whom an intimate relationship has been shared.
Who is at risk of domestic violence? There is not a typical woman who will be battered — the risk factor is being born female.
“Everyone knows one person who has been affected by domestic violence,” said Safety Zone co-director Shelley Williams. “This crime transcends every race, age, income, and socio-economic status.”
Domestic violence is a crime most people do not like to talk about and it does not often garner support from the community like other issues.
Abuse generally falls into one or more of the following categories: physical battering; sexual assault; and emotional or financial abuse. The abuse generally escalates over a period of time.
200 Clients in Two Years
Many victims of domestic violence suffer in silence. They either blame themselves, are too ashamed or are afraid of speaking out.
In the past two years, the Safety Zone has seen more than 200 new clients seeking help from domestic violence. Several activities are scheduled throughout the month of October in recognition of DVAM.
“We hope that the community comes out to support these activities and we bring more awareness about domestic violence,” said Williams.
The Safety Zone’s annual Take Back the Night March is on Thursday, October 18, starting at 6 p.m. at the Cruz Bay tennis courts. The march will continue to the Franklin Powell Park where a candlelight vigil will honor the memories of those who have died from domestic violence.
Purple Ribbon Awards Ceremony
The agency will recognize individuals in the community who have supported the Safety Zone throughout the year at a Purple Ribbon Awards Ceremony on Saturday, October 20, at the T’ree Lizards Restaurant at Cinnamon Bay Campground from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 and are available at the Safety Zone office at the Lumberyard Complex which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“People who attend will meet the new staff, receive information packets on how they can help eradicate domestic violence in the community and hear a big surprise announcement about the agency,” said event coordinator Karissa Hyacinth.
The month concludes with a fund raising night and informational presentation at the Pistarckle Theater presentation of Buried Child on October 26 at 8 p.m. on St. Thomas.
Information about domestic violence will be available at every event. For more information about DVAM or the Safety Zone call the agency at 693-7233.
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