I came across an article in The Herald out of Ohio.
Program targets domestic violence Women receive advice, support
By Patrick Cooley
Herald Staff Writer
A dozen women watched as images of women, abused and beaten by their husbands and boyfriends, came across a computer screen at the center of New Life Covenant Church in Sharon on Saturday morning.
Many said the images were hard to watch, and a few were brought to tears.
“Looking at those videos, it brought back a lot of memories,” said Laura, a Farrell woman who asked that her last name not be used. “It was hard to watch, but I think it was something that I needed (to watch).”
Laura, who was a victim of an abusive relationship for five years and stays at the ARC House in Farrell, was among those attending “Stop Wounding Me With Your Mouth,” a program that dealt with domestic abuse, specifically how verbal abuse can be hurtful and escalate into physical abuse.
Each of several speakers urged women to remove themselves from abusive relationships and to reach out to the victims to let them know there are resources to help them.
“I need you to be muscular Christians,” said Lizette Olsen, the director of AWARE, a domestic violence advocacy agency.
She said a survey by the Mercer County court system in 2009 showed that more than 4,800 families in the county had been affected by domestic violence.
“You might ask, ‘Why don’t some of these women just leave?’ ” Ms. Olsen said. “For some of them, this is all they’ve ever known.”
She said that many women come from a culture where they are told this is acceptable behavior, and where they are repeatedly told to keep family matters within the family.
“Shame is a powerful motivator,” Ms. Olsen said.
She also spoke about systematic ways women are degraded.
“It’s not just the under-educated,” Ms. Olsen said. “I’ve had women who are doctors, lawyers and pharmacists who don’t know how much money they make because whenever they get money, they have to hand it over to their husbands, because he tells them they’re a woman and too stupid to handle money.
“One of the most empowering things we can do is take them to the bank to start their own checking or savings account,” she said. “Some of the women are shaking because they’re so scared, they think their husband might know they’re there.”
Ms. Olsen said many men will use the threat of violence as a method of control over their spouses and girlfriends.
Another speaker was Malinda Gavins, who is on the board of directors of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and State Coalition for Domestic Violence Programs.
Ms. Gavins said the youngest victim she’s seen was a teenager whose mother sold her into marriage, and the oldest victim she’s seen was an 82-year-old woman.
“She said the first time her husband beat her, she called her mother and her mother said, ‘Welcome to marriage,’ ” Ms. Gavins said.
She said that making degrading statements about women is something that has become commonplace in the culture and especially in genres of music, and urged parents to talk to their children, boys and girls, at an early age.
“They’re already hearing the music,” Ms. Gavins said.
The Rev. Patricia Tatum, pastor of New Life Covenant, said it is part of the church’s mission to reach out to victims of domestic violence. She said the church will be having classes for victims and anyone interested in attending should call 724-494-8735.
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