October 2, 2006
September is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Some local organizations are helping to make people aware of this ongoing crisis.
“One in four women in the United States experience physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime," said Kathryn Laughon, Ph.D.
Domestic violence happens all too often and a UVa School of Nursing professor said it's becoming a health concern as well.
"Women and girls, who are abused, experience a lot more neurological problems, gastrointestinal problems. Sexually transmitted infections are probably four times as common among women who are being abused," said Laughon.
The warning signs are not usually recognized. However, health officials believe the more aware people are, the more they can help.
Last year the Shelter for Help and Emergency gathered together to honor those affected by domestic violence. Audience members read poems and held candles in remembrance of those lives that were extinguishing too soon.
This year the group is holding the same event in hopes that the strength of those attending will push more battered woman to come forward.
"It's a common problem that women should not hold themselves responsible for. [It is] really criminal behavior on the part of their partners. We want women to realize there are places they can go for help and there is support available for them," said Laughon.
The candlelight vigil starts at 7 p.m. at Jackson Park. If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone that is, the Family Violence and Sexual Assault hotline is 1-800-838-8238.
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