Oct

05

Leaders stand against domestic violence

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : October 5, 2013

Monitor Photo/Tracy Martin  State Rep. Lance Gooden (R-District 4) speaks at the Henderson County courthouse in a somber ceremony Tuesday, recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness month.  INSET: T-shirts with messages from victims of domestic violence are hung on clotheslines strung across the courthouse lawn. Crime tape is mingled with the haunting display of white shirts representing domestic homicide victims.

Monitor Photo/Tracy Martin
T-shirts with messages from victims of domestic violence are hung on clotheslines strung across the courthouse lawn. Crime tape is mingled with the haunting display of white shirts representing domestic homicide victims.

By Tracy Martin
The Monitor Correspondent

ATHENS–County commissioners approved a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Abuse Awareness month on Oct. 1 during regular session followed by an official declaration just outside the courthouse in front law enforcement personnel, county employees, the district attorney’s office, elected officials and workers that assist abused women and children.
In 1987, the first domestic violence awareness day was unofficially observed and two years later the first commemorative legislation was passed by Congress. Since then projects across the country have focused on public awareness to address the crimes of domestic abuse, which include a national registry of names of victims killed by their partner.
East Texas Crisis Center Regional director Donna Johnson says awareness is the first step in stopping the cycle of violence. “It’s a learned behavior, a cycle that can start when boys are young living in an abusive home,” Johnson said, “Chances are they’ve been abused, they don’t learn to respect women, it can start with bullying and progress to violence, both physical and sexual.”
The ETCC provided service to 493 victims of domestic violence in 2012, with 2013 closely matching last year’s numbers. New victims totaled 248, the problem is big and growing larger. “Taking a month to spread awareness about the situation is vital,” she said, adding that Henderson County ranks 10th in the state in domestic homicides.
Ninety six protective orders were issued in Henderson County as a court-backed document that a woman can receive from the Sheriff’s office to keep an abusive husband or boyfriend from any contact.
District attorney Scott McKee told the crowd that his office does everything possible to obtain convictions after arrests and keep the victim safe.
“It takes more than the work of our office and law enforcement, it takes the community to recognize the problem and reach out when possible to educate and be involved,” McKee said.

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