By Gretchen Ziemer, Womancare Community Educator - This month, people throughout our community will make New Year's resolutions - from losing weight to keeping in better contact with friends and family members. But victims of domestic violence are counting on community members to resolve to do more this year to stop abuse and to help victims. In some cases, the lives of women and their children may depend on it.
Domestic violence is a serious and deadly problem in our community and in our country. Every day women are beaten and killed by the men who claim to love them. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that, in 1999, 1,218 women were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country. That is an average of more than three women every day. Daily women and children who are our friends, neighbors, parishioners, and students are affected by domestic violence. In Piscataquis County we have also realized how domestic violence homicide has impacted our community. Only 5 months ago a Milo woman was murdered by her partner. She was a valued member of our community.
Womancare has been working tirelessly to assist victims of domestic violence and to end abuse in our community for the past 24 years. As we have done in the past, this year Womancare will continue its commitment to working towards zero tolerance in our community. Along with providing assistance to victims and family members of partner violence, Womancare advocates provide informational trainings and programming throughout our community. Look for Womancare advocates in our local school systems, at our churches and businesses, as well as presenting to the community social organizations.
But these efforts are not enough. Domestic violence is everyone's business. It affects all of us - every family, every workplace, and every community. And each one of us has a role to play in ending domestic violence.
Action can be as simple as teaching boys that violence against women is always wrong, volunteer your time to Womancare, offer information and support to a battered woman, invite Womancare to speak to your church or social organization, contribute money, join the Penquis Region Domestic Violence Task Force, or put a bumper sticker on your car to raise awareness about abuse. Individuals who want to get involved or would like more information can contact our office by calling us at 564-8165 or toll free 1-888-564-8165.
Ending domestic violence in our community is possible, but it requires a commitment from each and every one of us. In 2003, I encourage each of us to make a resolution to help stop domestic violence and support victims of abuse. It's a New Year's resolution that our community cannot afford to break.
Womancare is a Domestic Violence Prevention Project which serves people in Piscataquis County as well as surrounding communities in Penobscot and Somerset Counties. For more information please call (207) 564-8165 or 1-888-564-8165, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Womancare provides a 24 Hour Helpline, Advocacy, Support Groups, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and assistance with Protection From Abuse Orders, as well as other Family Court matters to those affected by Domestic Violence. As a community based agency, Womancare is also an educational resource providing presentations in schools, for business and medical professionals, clergy, and community groups concerning all aspects of Domestic Violence. Services are available at 8 Winter Street, Dover-Foxcroft and at our Outreach offices in Dexter, Greenville, and Milo. Womancare is funded in part by the Maine Department of Human Services.
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