October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Every day you hear it on the news – violence against a spouse, family member, significant other, anyone who you have a relationship with. This violence can range from financial exploitation that can cause significant monetary loss. Verbal abuse which can include belittling someone, calling names, making them feel worthless, to of course physical abuse this can start out as pushing, shoving building up to punching, slapping, using weapons, and possibly ending in death.

You also hear every day – “How terrible this is going on in our community”“I feel helpless”“not again, not in our neighborhood” to the most important question “I wonder what I can do?”

There are MANY ways to get involved, help bring awareness to this every growing and dangerous issue. Here are a few examples:

¯ Volunteer at your local shelter

¯ Educate yourself. Do you know what to look for in an abusive relationship? Know the warning signs.

¯ Sign up to receive weekly emails, articles in regards to people experiencing domestic violence, survivors, friends, family and others.

¯ Donate to your local shelter. They are always in need of household goods, toys, personal hygiene items. If you are not sure what they need call and ask.

¯ If you run a business, pledge your time, money, products or services to a shelter or in the #MoveToEndDV business program.

¯ Wear purple clothes or ribbons on a certain day of the week during the month of October in support of domestic violence awareness. Share your photo on Facebook, twitter or Instagram explaining why you are doing this.

¯ If you don’t have Facebook, twitter or Instagram actually tell people in person why you are making it a point to wear purple!

¯ Make a monetary donation to your local shelter or domestic violence agency. Any size donation can make a huge difference and is greatly appreciated.

¯ Publically acknowledge community members who are working to end domestic violence with a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or a statement in social media.

¯ Donate cell phones, batteries and accessories to your local shelter or domestic violence agency.

¯ Start a supply drive with your church, club or even your family. Collect clothing, personal care items, diapers and toys to donate to our local shelter.

Locally the Chautauqua County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault have many activities. We begin Domestic Violence Awareness Month by holding our annual Walk Against Domestic Violence/ Unity Day. This year will be our 20th Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence/15th Annual Unity Day and will be held on Friday. Proclamations are read by Mayor Sam Teresi, County Executive Vince Horrigan and Sen. Catharine Young. The Salvation Army Anew Center plays an important part by sharing a poem appropriate for day. Our guest speaker this year will be Christine Schuyler, BSN, PN, MHA, Director of the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

Our Silent Witness Exhibit will be displayed through Chautauqua County. This exhibit is comprised of life sized figures. These figures represent the men, women and children in Chautauqua County who are survivors of domestic violence. The figures are faceless and nameless but there is a real person with real feelings behind each story that is displayed on their chest.

Their locations and dates are as follows:

¯ JCC Hultquist Library – 10/2/17 to 10/6/17

¯ JCC Dunkirk Campus – 10/9/17 to 10/13/17

¯ Jamestown Business College – 10/16/17 to 10/20 17

¯ Chautauqua Mall – 10/23/17 to 10/29/17

¯ James Prendergast Library – 10/30/17 to 11/3/17

Another initiative is our Domestic Violence screenings. These are held at Jamestown Community College (Main & North County) & Jamestown Business College. This is a wonderful opportunity for this sector of the community to meet with member agencies. We are present for questions, concerns along with pamphlets and resources available. There are also anonymous domestic violence screenings for student to complete which helps us get an idea of our local demographics in regards to domestic violence.

So to answer the question “What can I do?” Look above at the initial suggestions that you, as an individual can do. Get involved in our Coalitions activities. Join us on Friday. If you can’t walk with us then plan on coming to the lobby in the City Hall and see what Unity day entails. If you are unable to attend Unity Day make it a point to visit one of the locations where the Silent Witness is displayed.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Chautauqua County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has a variety of awareness activities scheduled throughout the month. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, or if you would like more information on local resources and services available, please contact Project Crossroads at 483-7718, The Salvation Army Rape Crisis Hotline at 800-252-8748, or Family Service of the Chautauqua Region at 488-1971.