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Domestic violence center hosts awareness walk

by Alyssa Daley - Editor-In-Chief
Tue, Oct 10th 2017 11:00 am

Since 1981, October has been acknowledged as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Although, the mission to provide more resources and educate more people about the signs and how to get help is not completed within the month’s 31 days. Campaigns established by organizations such as The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Rochester are not only strengthened during the month of October but are also more recognized. For many, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is much more than the purple ribbon. It is a 31-day period where those who may not normally be conscious of the issue actually begin to tune in. 

For The Willow Domestic Violence Center, utilizing the interest and engagement of people in the community whether they have experienced domestic violence themselves or know someone who has is a part of the entire organization’s fundamental responsibilities. The center’s vision is “to restore the health and safety of survivors of family and domestic violence” and strive “to eliminate family and domestic violence in our communities by providing safety, education, and advocacy,” according to the organization’s website. That mission is a part of the reason why The College at Brockport has partnered with Willow for a few years now. 

The college’s Hazen Center for Integrated Care lists the organization as an important hotline (585-232-7353) for students, faculty and staff to have in their phones where it’s easy to access. Representatives from the center come to campus multiple times per year to host educational talks and provide further resources for those who need and are willing to accept them. The Human Services Living Learning Community on campus also continues to collaborate with Willow by volunteering at and participating in the organization’s Walk a Mile in My Shoes event. 

This year the walk is taking place on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at Ontario Beach Park. Participants gather to walk the one-mile loop at the beach to not only raise money for the center so that it may continue to provide its resources at no cost but also to honor and support survivors “as they take the next step toward a life free from violence.” Tickets for the walk are $20 per adult, $10 per student and children 12 and under are free. The event is not only a walk either. There will be a DJ, photo booth, raffles and prizes to create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for all those who wish to take part. 

It is crucial to remember what it is the center is working so hard to prevent: domestic violence, an issue that was reported 4,789 times in 2016 in Monroe County, a county whose reports of domestic violence are above state rates. In response to hearing this statistic some people may say well, “all of those reports are coming from the city” or “that is all happening in the suburbs behind those pristine white picket fences” depending on where the person commenting is currently living. This has been proven wrong again and again though. Domestic violence is not just a female problem. It is not just a white problem. It is not just a poor, lower-middle class problem. According to the Local Domestic Violence Report to the Community as stated on willowcenterny.org, “domestic violence impacts all zip codes with 52 percent of domestic violence reports coming from the city and 48 percent from suburban communities.” 

Last year The Willow Domestic Violence Center received 5,110 calls through its 24/7 hotline, the organization housed 384 survivors and served 2,301 clients seeking an order of protection. Domestic violence is not just a problem, it’s a problem that spans across social and economic borders close to home. Just last week the college released its annual Safety Report which is accessible to all who are interested and within that report. It stated that the college has experienced a decrease in issues of sexual assault between 2014 and 2016 but that there has been an increase in the number of domestic abuse reports, especially within the last two years. 

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