Every 9 seconds a woman in the U.S. is a victim of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence is an alarming and pervasive problem in our country, and not just in metro areas, but small rural communities too. “We see it in southeast Indiana, right here in the picturesque and quiet rural communities which people often compare to Mayberry,” said Jane Yorn, Executive Director and founder of Safe Passage. “Yet Domestic Violence does not discriminate by location, age, income, education or race. Since we started Safe Passage in 1997, we have helped over 12,000 victims and their children of domestic violence. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to increase. ” Safe Passage has been the sole provider of a domestic violence shelter and victim services in Dearborn, Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Switzerland Counties, and as of 2015, Jefferson County.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Safe Passage has planned several activities in the communities to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence. The theme from the original 1987 national DV Awareness month holds true 30 years later. As Yorn stated, “We will mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who survived and connect those who work to end violence.” She mentioned last year’s October DV fatality in Madison. Laura Russell, a nurse, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband, a teacher, who then killed himself.
DV Awareness month kicked off Sept. 30 in Brookville, with a Handbags 4 Hope fundraiser for Safe Passage. Fifty new and gently used purses were auctioned, and over 100 guests heard a compelling personal story from a local domestic violence survivor.
Purple ribbons and banners have been placed in highly visible spots in the six counties, including Lawrenceburg, Versailles, Batesville, Madison and later in the month, Rising Sun and/or Vevay. Also, SP staff will wear symbolic purple ribbons all month, and distribute to the social service agencies, schools, and organization, to remind them of the plight of these victims but also that there is nearby support to facilitate healing and independence.
The Safe Passage Youth Council, made up of 40 Batesville and Oldenburg Academy students, and several mentoring students will help with this awareness campaign too. The youth council is part of the Prevention component of Safe Passage.. The Safe Passage Prevention staff, which oversees the council, also promotes a safe, nurturing environment and presents a character building curriculum to local primary grades and several other schools and libraries in the six counties.
As part of DV awareness, the SP outreach team will connect with law enforcement and offer Lethality Assessment Program training. Caryn Burton from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence will lead the training on Oct. 30 at the Lawrenceburg Community Center from 9 to noon. A complimentary breakfast will be served.
On Oct. 26, domestic violence will be the focus of a community critical issues forum, sponsored by several organizations, at the YMCA in Batesville. Experts in the field, including law enforcement will address the impact it has on schools, businesses, health care and other factors in the community. Registration starts at 11 am. with the complimentary luncheon beginning at 11:30 to 1 p.m. (Reservations are requested by calling the YMCA at 812-933-6006 by Oct. 24.)
Jane Yorn commented she is truly grateful to the community for 20 years of support and noted the exterior and interior building renovations were recently completed, thanks to donations from the community which helped Safe Passage win the $100,000AllState Purple Purse challenge. The annual Dec. 2 We Heal. We Help. We Hope major fundraiser at Walhill Farms will recognize some of these outstanding supporters.
For more information about Safe Passage and domestic violence, go to the website at www.safepassageinc.org . The toll-free help line is 877-733-1990 or 812-933-1990.