As part of a national movement to prevent violence, Russell House — along with four outreach offices — will recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month alongside many other organizations this year nationwide.
This is the time to learn about intimate partner violence, reflect on the costs of the crime to our society, and promote laws, policies and programs to improve services to victims, hold offenders accountable and prevent domestic violence in our communities.
During the past two decades, Missouri has made strides in securing rights, protections and services for victims of domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence. Lawmakers and domestic violence advocates have worked to criminalize domestic violence and marital rape, establish Orders of Protection with criminal penalties for violations, obtain funding for domestic violence services, ensure confidentiality for the safety and dignity of victims; strengthen Child Welfare Laws to protect battered mothers and their children and enhance penalties for offenders to match the seriousness of the crime.
“It’s time to grab a hold of the truth — you do make a difference and play a crucial role in ending domestic violence; we at Russell House believe in and support bystander action to stop the violence,” said Jennifer Quain, Violence Prevention Educator for Russell House, “It is time for us as a community, to not only show support for victims of violence, but also support our fellow community members-- our neighbors who stand up against violence.
Ending violence, specifically domestic violence, is an attainable goal. We must make it known that there is a zero tolerance standard in our community for violence and that we will stand up, speak out and support one another in being a zero tolerance town against violence.”
Being a bystander of action is a committed choice and is, at times, a difficult choice to follow through with. Recognizing that there are realistic obstacles to being a bystander of action is important, but it is equally important to know that for every obstacle there is a solution for action to be executed. Every bystander will have a different level of commitment, ability and comfort level of how he/she will execute their action.
There might be times that you do not follow through, but let that moment encourage and prepare you for the next time to do better.
“As a bystander, always consider your own safety and your comfort level of action to what you can or cannot commit to,” Quain said. “Once you know your own comfort level, be encouraged that what you are able to do is amazing and absolutely contributing to ending the violence in our town.
“It is exciting and encouraging to know that bystanders have the power to change the climate of our community and that we can make Phelps County known as having zero tolerance for domestic violence,” Quain said. “Non-violent community members far outnumber those committing violence, therefore, we have the power. The change we want to see in our community is going to start within each of us to make an active choice to do something about domestic violence.”
Page 2 of 2 - Special events are planned for October. Among these activities are daily Facebook threads about domestic violence, radio PSA’s and, be on the lookout for our “Violence? Not in my home!” lawn sign campaign in your neighborhood.
To join in this month’s activities and get involved in helping victims of domestic violence, contact Russell House at 573-364-0579 or visit our website at www.russellhouse.info.