Every seven minutes.
That’s the frequency of calls to the domestic violence hotlines.
But it’s not the most alarming statistic.
Boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are twice as like to grow up to be the abuser. And girls who witness these acts are likely to end up in similar relationships when they become women and mothers.
One in every four women in West Virginia has been or will be the victim of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. And every day an average of three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
It’s a crime that targets young and old, rich and poor, every social class, men and women.
It’s not just the abuser’s target who is a victim. More than 3 million children witness domestic violence each year in the U.S., and studies suggest witnessing violence as a child can lead to depression, trauma-related symptoms and low self-esteem as adults.
And it’s a vicious cycle that we must stop.
As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October serves as a chance to shed light on the key issues surrounding domestic violence, its victims and legislation aimed at protecting those in harm’s way.
For the person being abused, seeking help is often the first — and most crucial — step toward safety. The following agencies can help: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233); Common Ground Sanctuary (800-231-1127); and Haven (877-922-1274).
Help is also available in West Virginia thanks to a bill referred to as Celena’s Law, which creates the misdemeanor crime of unlawful restraint. It was signed into law last year. In addition to protecting victims of domestic violence, it provides law-enforcement officers with an additional tool to combat the damage caused by abusers.
Conviction brings up to a year in jail and a $500 fine, or both.
“October is a month to remember and celebrate the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said Athena Stima, adult/children’s case manager and volunteer coordinator at HOPE Inc., the local domestic violence shelter. “It is also the month to reinforce the community’s awareness of domestic violence and to provide education on its prevention.”
HOPE offers emergency shelter, supportive services, advocacy, professional counseling, community education, children’s programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and a 24- hour hotline.
We need to recognize how serious and widespread this problem is, not just in October, but year-round. We need to support legislation that protects victims and expands definitions of abuse, as well as increase the penalties for offenders. We need to volunteer and financially support programs and shelters like HOPE, a United Way agency, as they battle to break the cycle of domestic violence each and every day.
We strongly encourage those who are affected by domestic violence as well as those who wish to volunteer their time to call the HOPE Inc. hotline at 304-367-1100.
We can make a difference in the lives of women and children who are afraid, hurting and who need help more than we will ever know. We can teach that love is patient and love is kind. It doesn’t use fists or threats or angry words that hurt.
We’ll offer one more statistic. In the time it took you to read this piece, 17 calls were made to a domestic violence hotline.
Every seven minutes.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
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