Vigils held to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Programs across the country are being held in October to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Programs across the country are being held in October to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Picture courtesy of MGN.)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Programs across the country are being held in October to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “1 in 4 women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The number of domestic violence cases may be higher said, YWCA Central Virginia Executive Director Ashley Reynolds Marshall, because cases of abuse are under-reported.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in a study conducted from 2006 – 2015 examining police response to domestic violence, an average of 582,000 non-fatal domestic violence cases were not reported to police each year.

Some of the reason cited for victims not reporting domestic violence was due to the personal nature of the incident (32%), the victim wanting to protect the offender (21 %), the victim felt the crime was a minor issue (20 %), and fear of repercussions from the offender (19%), according to the report.

Organizations hope that through education victims will reach out for help. They also strive to educate the public through awareness of what domestic violence is.

Domestic violence can be physical but can also be emotional and involves levels of control such as when an abuser controls who a victim sees, where they go, or what the victim wears, whether early on in a relationship or years later.

Public events like vigils help to honor those individuals who have survived, bring awareness to those who continue to be abused and honor those who have died due to domestic violence, said YWCA Central Virginia Executive Director Ashley Reynolds Marshall.

Here are the following vigils being held this month in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month organized by YWCA:

  • Oct. 17, 6 p.m – Lynchburg Vigil, hosted with Alpha Chi Omega of University of Lynchburg at Snidow Chapel, located on 1501 Lakeside Dr. in Lynchburg.
  • Oct. 22, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m – Amherst County Vigil, hosted with Amherst County Victim/Witness at Mount Olive Baptist Church, located on 160 Court St. in Amherst.
  • Oct. 24, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Appomattox Vigil, hosted with Appomattox Victim Witness at Memorial United Methodist Church’s Legacy Hall, located on 403 Court St. in Appomattox.

YWCA of Central Virginia

YWCA’s Domestic Violence Prevention Program’s primary service is their two shelters which provide safe housing for women, men, and children, including housing individuals in hotel rooms.

They also provide services such as court advocacy, assistance with an order of protection, and helping survivors maneuver the legal process and finding a job, she said.

Services are all free and don’t require participants to stay at the shelter in order to receive the other services, Marshall said.

From July 2018 – June 2019, the organization has provided over 5,000 nights of shelter for survivors of domestic violence, including men, women, and children.

The program also runs a domestic violence hotline: (888) 528-1041 accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, available those who need assistance or know someone that needs assistance.

In the same time period of July 2018 – June 2019, the hotline received over 8,000 hotline calls.

Marshal said there has been no significant change in the number of nights that have been provided or to the number of telephone calls that have been received from last year.

In addition to YWCA’s domestic violence prevention hotline, the National Domestic Violence hotline is also an available resource for anyone who seeks help for themselves or for others. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-SAFE (7233).

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