By Kaitlin Eber
October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic Violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, religion, or gender identity. Domestic Violence can take many forms and often, the abuse is not visible. Take a stand against domestic violence, and let it be known that violence will not be tolerated within our community. Throughout the next few weeks, the YWCA’s Aid to Victims of Violence (AVV) program encourages you to participate in the following events:
On October 17th at 8 p.m., join AVV as they march with SUNY Cortland in their annual event, Take Back the Night. The march begins at the steps of Corey Union (103 Prospect Terrace, Cortland NY 13045). Take Back the Night is an international event intended to be a protest against rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
October 18th is National Wear Purple Day! Come down to Courthouse Park at Noon for a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk. The walk will take place throughout the streets of Cortland. Participants will be in purple for survivors of domestic violence.
On October 26th at 6 p.m., come to the YWCA for Chef’s Take a Stand: Men Against Domestic Violence. For only $25, you will be able to sample more than 20 different dishes from chefs within the community. This event is not your average gala, the food is delicious, the attire is casual and the speeches are few. During this event there will be chances to win a variety of different prizes! All proceeds will be donated to the Aid to Victims of Violence program to support the array of services provided to the Cortland Community.
YWCA’s AVV program provides free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other crimes. The purpose of this program is to empower victims of abuse to live their own lives free of abuse and oppression, by helping them to explore positive opportunities and options.
The services AVV provides include accompaniment to the police station, hospital, Department of Social Services, courts, and other locations as necessary. They provide confidential advocacy to clients by providing non-judgmental, sensitive support and information. Their role is to assist the clients in feeling empowered to make their own decisions regarding their life, and ensuring that they fully understand what their rights are. AVV, also provides crisis intervention to victims, whether it is in person or over the phone. They operate a 24-hour confidential hotline. An advocate is available to offer support and provide intervention options. AVV also equips victims of domestic violence with emergency safe housing. At the Safe Dwelling, all basic needs are provided to the clients, in order to assist them in transitioning to a safer environment. This is just a short list of the services AVV can provide.
During 2017, AVV provided services for 706 new clients. This does not account for the clients that they continued to work with from previous years. Aid to Victims of Violence provided services for 520 victims of domestic or family violence, 55 victims of child physical abuse or neglect, 19 victims of adult sexual assault, 18 victims of child sexual abuse or assault, 16 victims of stalking, 9 victims of elder abuse or neglect, and 2 victims of human trafficking. In 2017, AVV provided emergency housing for 25 children and 29 adults. In total we housed 28 families over the course of the year and received 3,900 calls for information and referrals.
The YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence program provides critical services to our community. Please join us in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.