Domestic violence awareness events to be held in October

Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

By Ngoc Vo

Various events will be held this month to raise awareness for domestic violence, an issue highly relevant to our community.

“We had a person who was killed in connection with a domestic violence situation,” said Rev. Deborah Butler, Bethel A.M.E Church’s pastor. “We felt that this should be our focus this year.”

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Butler, with her church, is holding the second annual Aim for Hope event as part of Domestic Violence Awareness month.

“It is a problem that most people don’t want to talk about because it happens in the home,” Butler said. “They won’t discuss it until something happens in the community.”

According to Butler, domestic violence most likely affects women and children. However, anyone from various economic backgrounds can experience domestic violence.

Camille Downing, Child Advocacy Center Executive Director, said approximately between 55 and 60% of the children her center takes in came from homes with domestic violence.

“I think domestic violence is a major issue in Pike and the surrounding counties,” Downing said.

Jessica Childs, Troy University Criminal Justice Department lecturer said, according to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, there were 423 domestic violence related offenses with 23 related homicides in 2013 in Pike County.

Early signs of domestic violence are possessiveness, controlling and attempts to separate one from friends and loved ones, Butler said. Escalated cases can result in someone getting hurt and even killed.

“My advice is to have an action plan,” Butler said. “In extreme cases you cannot just leave. I believe in getting information into our community, into our church.

“We have to start talking about what domestic violence is and what it entails, including harassment over the telephone. You don’t have to suffer alone. There are people to help you.”

Butler mentioned national hotlines 1-800-799-7233, which will refer callers to qualified counselors at regional agencies who can help make a safe escape plan.

The Aim for Hope event will be Oct. 25 at 8:30 a.m. at Goshen Town Hall with guest speaker Karen Boyd from the House of Ruth in Dothan. The topic of the event is ‘Love doesn’t hurt,’ Butler said.

Troy University, criminal justice department will also hold a Domestic Violence Symposium to raise awareness of the issue.

According to Childs, around six, seven poster presentations from her victimology class will be organized on the Bibb Graves Quad for people who walk by to ask questions and get more information.

The event will held Oct. 16 from 1 to 2 p.m.

“Domestic violence is a problem everywhere,” Childs said. “(In addition to) possessiveness and (physical) control, there’s also emotional abuse. It is very important that we talk about it. The more people are aware of this issue, the easier to prevent it. If families and friends know the signs, they can help the victims.”