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Domestic Violence Awareness month supports victims, survivors

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, 44 Hoosiers died as a result of domestic violence. Three of those victims lived in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties.

Advocates say Domestic Violence Awareness months helps people understand this national issue is also a community issue.

One in three women and one in ten men are likely to experience domestic violence. It’s the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S. Six in 10 women who are victims of homicide were murdered by someone they knew.

“It takes a tremendous toll on individuals,” said YWCA of North Central Indiana Vice President of Development and Communications Amanda Ceravolo. “It makes them afraid. It makes them question themselves. For many victims, often, if there’s financial abuse, they feel trapped in the relationship.”

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one intimate partner to maintain power and control over another partner. Experts say that can be shown through physical, verbal, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse. Some common tactics include intimidating, isolating, and threatening victims.

“If you’re a young mother, and you have three young kids, and you’re relying on this abusive relationship to help you financially, then you could imagine how scary it would be to leave and try to do it on your own,” said Ceravolo.

HOW TO HELP

There are a number ways people in Michiana can support domestic violence victims and survivors.

Tuesday the YWCA will hold a “remember ME” vigil. The annual event remembers individuals who died due to domestic violence. The vigil is at Seitz Park and begins at 6:30 p.m. Organizers say it’s a somber event.

“We light candles, and we remember those who lost their lives,” said Ceravolo. “But, we also try to send the message to those who may be in an abusive relationship that they need to reach out and get help and that we are here to help them. We want to prevent deaths in our community, and we want to end domestic violence.”

Ceravolo said the “Me Too” movement and increased support from law enforcement has raised more awareness about domestic violence in Michiana over the past few years.

In addition to Tuesday’s vigil, there are seven other events.

- The Clothesline Project: An artistic display to raise awareness about domestic violence. The displays will be located at the St. Joseph County County City building October 1, at IUSB and IU Elkhart and at the Elkhart Art Walk on October 10.

- Domestic Violence Strike Out: Sunday, October 21, families can bowl from 3 to 5 p.m. at Chippewa Bowl. Tickets are $15 (adults) or $10 (children 12&under)

- The Children Next Door: This movie shows the effects of domestic violence on a family. The event is free and open to the public. It will be screened on Wednesday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Church of South Bend

- Workplace Training: Domestic violence advocates, counselors, attorneys, and human resource personnel will train employees on how to recognize domestic violence. To schedule a contact, businesses can contact Aaron Bradford at (574)233-9491 ext. 351

- Danger Assessment Law Enforcement (DALE): This is a tool used around St. Joseph County for domestic violence victims. Police departments and individual officers will be recognized for their work on assisting victims find resources to safety. The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 9 at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the County City building in South Bend.

- Purple Hair Challenge: People are encouraged to dye their hair purple. People who do so are encouraged to take a picture and post it to social media using the hashtag #purple4ywcancin

- Violet Hour: This is a violet themed cocktail party. It will take place at Artisan Restaurant on Wednesday, October 10 at 5:30 p.m.

If you or someone you know may be a domestic violence victim, the YWCA encourages people to call 1-866-YES-YWCA.

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