Domestic violence is also harmful to children and teens. The Department of Justice has found that children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused in homes where partner abuse occurs. Growing up in an abusive environment perpetuates the cycle of violence, and it often continues with each generation. According to the American Psychological Association, a child's exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
Our own community is not immune from domestic violence. In 2005, in Clark County alone, there were 217 emergency protection orders filed by women in abusive relationships. The Clark County Attorney's office has a full time Victim Advocate, Julie Briscoe. Ms. Briscoe is available to assist victims of domestic violence by providing crisis counseling, help with filing protection orders, going to court hearings, filing criminal charges, and providing referrals to community resources. In 2005, Ms. Briscoe assisted 318 women within our community who were victims of domestic violence. Although that number is high, statistics indicate that 73 percent of domestic violence incidents go unreported. If that is true, well over 1000 women were victimized last year. There is no way to accurately measure just how prevalent domestic violence truly is within our community.
Clark County Judge/Executive John Myers and Winchester Mayor Dodd Dixon have proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Clark County. During this month, special emphasis is given to awareness, prevention and education about domestic violence and sexual assault. Often referred to as "the hidden crime," domestic violence and sexual assault will not just go away. We can all take part in fighting this battle by doing the following:
Educate yourself, your family, friends, and neighbors about domestic violence.
If you know someone who is in immediate danger, call 911.
If you know someone who is being abused, offer your help and
Let them know they are not alone.
Refuse to allow violent behavior in your own family.
Teach your children to respect and honor relationships.
Discourage the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Both are major contributing factors to family violence - but not excuses for violent behavior.
While much has been done to help victims and educate individuals about domestic violence, there remains much to be done.
As concerned citizens, we can participate in community events including the upcoming "Take Back the Night" rally and vigil to send the message that domestic violence and sexual assault are not okay and will not be ignored.
This event will be Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in front of the Clark County Courthouse. The featured speaker will be the honorable Judge Brandy O. Brown, with music provided by Brad Burtner. A candlelight vigil and speak-out will follow.
The event is open to the public, and any community agency wishing to set up a table with information should contact Julie Briscoe, Victim Advocate, at 737-7006. Set-up will begin at 5:30 pm.