October is Domestic Violence Awareness month
Help, healing and hope have NOT been cancelled at Safe Passage. Since 1997, Safe Passage, Inc., has been the sole provider of domestic and sexual violence support services in the 6 county district of Dearborn, Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Switzerland and Jefferson Counties. Through extensive services and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence and innovative community-based prevention programming, the organization strives to build safe, stable nurturing relationships and communities.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and several activities have been planned by the nonprofit service provider to bring attention to this issue. Banners and purple ribbons (purple is the designated color for domestic violence) have been hung at the local parks and downtown areas as a reminder that this is not just a personal problem but a community one. Electronic signs with messages about the special designation will scroll at several banks and city or community signs throughout the month. Highpoint Health in Dearborn County will feature a special display in the lobby. Several coffee shops in the area will post the ribbon stickers on coffee sleeves as a reminder or feature a display. Radio interviews on WRBI and Eagle Country have been scheduled, along with social media posts bringing attention to the issue.
In addition to direct support services, prevention is part of the nonprofit’s mission, and a 4-person Prevention team works with students throughout the district to create safe, stable environments. With guidance from the Prevention team, Safe Passage interns and the youth council are also promoting the DV designated month with signs throughout schools. The youth council recently expanded from Batesville to include all high school students in the six county district. Students and others in the community are encouraged to wear purple on Oct. 15, the day designated nationally to do so. “We want people to ask why are you wearing purple? Why is there a purple ribbon around a tree or lamppost? Or what’s this sticker on my cup? This gives a chance to open up dialogue about the issue of domestic violence, and hopefully, the youth and others learn more about it and that there is a local place for help,” said Danielle Becker, Prevention coordinator for Safe Passage. She noted that teens in an abusive relationship are 4 times more likely to be in an abusive relationship as an adult. Local citizens are also encouraged to post a picture of them in purple and send to Safe Passage’s social media: Facebook.com/safeplaceforhope/.
Domestic violence is not just something that happens in urban areas or big cities. Last year, Safe Passage served more than 1300 victims and their children in the six county area either through the shelter, the non-residential programming or toll-free helpline.
The 30-bed shelter is based in Batesville, but the active satellite offices in Greendale, Brookville, Versailles and Madison make it more convenient or accessible for those who might not need shelter, but do need support.
“While most think of abuse as physical, that’s often the last stage in the power and control wheel. It can take on many forms: verbal, isolation, sexual, emotional and financial limitations. It’s all about power and control,” says Executive Director and founder Jane Yorn. Nonetheless, many don’t grasp that it’s not so easy to change. As a survivor and client of Safe Passage recently said when asked what people should know about domestic violence, “People shouldn’t look down on a woman for not leaving quickly. There’s a lot more to it than just walking out the door.”
Yorn emphasized that is particularly true with this year’s pandemic. Isolation can be devastating for victims, and many had no reprieve to work or school. Some had a hard time even finding a safe place to make the call for help to police or shelters. “The No. 1 reason a victim doesn’t leave her surroundings is resources. She’s scared about where she will live, how she will provide for herself or her children. With the pandemic, as stress and financial woes escalated so did fear,” Yorn added.
Safe Passage, which also operates Safe Place, a sexual assault crisis center, provides confidential and comprehensive services for free. Yorn commented that the support from law enforcement, the courts, social service agencies, faith groups, community leaders and others help stop the cycle of violence. For more information, go to the website at www.safepassageinc.org or call 812-933-1990.