PRUNTYTOWN — Pruntytown Correctional Center inmates decorated the administration building’s auditorium with pink and blue paper chains.
The 1,247 pink links represent the number of women in the United States killed by their intimate partner in 2000, and the 440 blue links stand for the men killed.
Inmates, staff and the community gathered in the auditorium Tuesday night for a free public forum on domestic violence titled “The Public Responds.” PCC sponsored the forum for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in partnership with Grafton Business and Professional Women and the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center.
Leaders from different fields of the community made up a panel to discuss domestic violence. Brenda Thompson, PCC unit manager and Domestic Violence Awareness Month committee chairwoman, served as moderator for the event. Panel members answered predetermined questions as well as questions from the audience.
In West Virginia, someone is killed from domestic violence every 10 days, Lorraine Prictchard, RDVIC shelter supervisor and counselor, said. Three million women in the country are reported abused every year. Although 91 percent of victims are female, men also become victims of domestic violence.
Women report acts of domestic violence more than men, Prictchard said. Pfc. L.L. Knotts from the State Police said men often don’t want to admit they are battered by a woman.
Domestic assault and battery are misdemeanors on the first and second offenses, but become a felony on the third, Taylor County Magistrate Rick Reese said. Under federal law, those convicted of domestic violence charges have no firearms privileges.
Adults need to teach children at a young age that domestic violence is not acceptable, Cpl. Peter J. Shipp from the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department said. Children who are abused can become abusers.
“It comes from the way you were raised, what you witnessed when you were a kid,” Prictchard said. “It isn’t safe for children to even witness domestic violence.”