October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Theresa Loffer
October 01, 2014

There are many things that you can do to end domestic violence (DV) in your community this year to show support for your local shelter/crisis center.  

Know who to call for help:  Studies show that 2/3 of people experiencing domestic violence didn’t know where to turn for help.   The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center has an advocate available 24-7 for crisis call response as well as a 24-hour hotline.  An emergency shelter is available for those escaping domestic violence situations.   

SA/DVC provides a variety of advocacy services:  court, law enforcement, medical, housing, safety and personal needs.  The role of an advocate is to assist empowerment of the survivor through obstacles he or she may encounter making changes and healing. 

In order to do this, advocates have a strong working relationship with the various systems, have a clear understanding of trauma, and are aware of some of the pitfalls, the laws, and the resources that a survivor will encounter. 

Advocates are always on the victim’s ‘team’. Confidentiality and safety are taken very seriously.  Each victim’s trauma, experiences, and needs are unique.  

Every county in the state of Kansas has an advocacy center accredited through the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV.org).   SA/DVC covers all of Rice, Reno, McPherson, Marion, Kingman, and Harper counties.  

Agencies work within each system locally to enact changes that will make it easier on survivors dealing with trauma.  

When a survivor has a bad experience within a system, it may influence the survivor’s future actions and beliefs.    

A positive encounter and outcome for the survivor makes it more likely that the survivor will consider the option to leave, to prosecute, and to hold accountable the offender.  Ideally, more prosecutions would mean fewer future victims.

Key things individuals can do:   Educate oneself about domestic violence and be aware of the myths surrounding sexual and domestic abuse.  Avoid victim blaming or victim shaming. 

Abusers didn’t just get drunk and make a mistake.  They aren’t ‘good people’ who got carried away.  They seek out power and control over their victims in very strategic and specific ways.    

Attend the Community Training on October 10th at 9am-12pm in the McPherson First Bank Kansas building to learn more.  To RSVP, see below.

Key things Businesses can do:  Display posters with the SA/DVC hotline number, i.e.  in a bathroom or other private area where one can write down the number privately. Businesses and utilities can add a message to mailings stating that October is Domestic Violence awareness month with the crisis hotline number (620-663-2522), or hand out purple antenna ribbons to turn the cities purple.   EVERY BUSINESS can play a role.

There are national campaigns designed to address domestic violence.   Sign up for the NO MORE campaign which offers a free toolkit downloadable from the website:  NOMORE.ORG  

In engaging men in the discussion is vital.   A new downloadable toolkit called “Coaching Boys Into Men”  (focuses on healthy relationship building skills) is available atwww.coachescorner.org. This is a preventative step in ending domestic violence. 

Most men abhor battering, and they can have a huge role in modeling and creating respectful relationships.

Faith groups and ministers can address domestic violence.  An open discussion concerning domestic violence from the pulpit or in bible study groups and its ever present nature can be engaging to every social class and religious group.  

Preach that your church has a role in protecting and embracing the survivors while holding abusers accountable.  Talk about how abusers can manipulate religious principles as a means to control victims.  

Become a referral resource for survivors who need spiritual support by volunteering at the SA/DVC.  Host a food drive, supplies drive, or collect old cell phones.  The McPherson office needs volunteers for childcare and direct response.

Finally, the SA/DVC staff is always available to come and give individualized informational talks to your organization, business, or group.  Flyers and brochures are available and can be delivered upon request.   

For further information and to sign up for the Community Training, contact 620-241-6615.  

Add SA/DVC Facebook Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center McPherson County and Marion County for regular updates and educational materials, or visit our website atwww.sadvchutch.org.

The law offices of Bretz and Young have a promotion on Facebook throughout October.  For every ‘like’ they receive, they give $5 to the SA/DVC.