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Monday, October 29, 2012

Where's the purple?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everywhere you look people are draped in Pink to show their support of this worthy cause. ISU and Illini volleyball teams are going to “paint the gym pink”.  Virtually every player on my beloved Chicago Bears is wearing pink shoes, sweat bands, mouthpieces or towels. An animal shelter in Decatur is wearing pink t-shirts all month long. A percentage of my purchase of yogurt, bottled water, and bread is going toward breast cancer research. And don’t even get me started about the pink flamingos. I LOVE PINK FLAMINGOS! The staff at Dove 100% supports the efforts to raise awareness and money toward finding a cure for Breast Cancer.

There is another very important awareness campaign in October – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our color is purple. The color purple represents the bruises left on the skin of adult and child victims of domestic violence. We don’t have electronic billboards or a “Real Men” wear purple advertisement. We only get celebrity endorsements when one is arrested for the crime of domestic battery. And if you’re going to see the color purple at Assembly Hall – it’s part of their Broadway show series.

For the advocates at Dove domestic violence awareness is just as meaningful as breast cancer. We support both causes. But we wonder out loud why we haven’t captured the public’s attention in the same way as our friends. Nationally, there was some discussion about moving DV awareness to April to align with Child Abuse awareness or May to tie into Mother’s Day. Is our work less important today than it was in the past?

The grass roots domestic violence movement is approximately 40 years old. When we first started bringing attention to the issues of family violence – little was known. Few communities had resources, law enforcement had little training, and local prosecutors had few statutes to utilize. Over the years things improved dramatically. Federal and state legislation gave communities the resources needed to address domestic violence. Media reported on the dynamics of the issue. Farah Fawcett starred in the movie The Burning Bed. And through all of this Dove and programs like ours advocated, educated, and raised awareness about domestic violence. It could be argued that the public is more aware today of DV issues that at any other time. So why isn’t the staff at the local hospital dressed in purple this month?

I’ve been asking the question for some time now about why domestic violence awareness does not get its due attention. If the public now knows so much about domestic violence, they also understand the consequences of this violence on victims, children, businesses, and communities. Dove has hosted four separate candlelight vigils in October to raise awareness. Each vigil was distinct, meaningful, and special. I’m thankful for the volunteers who put these vigils together, our speakers, and all who attended. But good seats were available at each vigil. Certainly if we understand the effects of domestic violence as a community people would be lined up out the door to show their support.

A friend of mine suggested that domestic violence is an old issue. It’s a cause that her mother or sister would have supported. There is a perception that today, with public knowledge and community resources it is somehow easier to escape a violent relationship. Besides, people have been donating to shelters for 40 years and there is no cure. When people donate to breast cancer awareness, we have a reasonable expectation that it will be cured if not in our lifetime, then within our daughter’s lifetime. Dove cannot make that promise to its donors. You see this problem is not going to be solved in a lab – by scientist wearing purple smocks. Forty years of research has given us a set of best practices to address the issue as a community and a program. But none of that matters to a person who has been battered by someone they trusted. Domestic violence is not an event. It is a journey. Nobody goes into a relationship thinking “I’m going to give my all to this man until he batters me and I need to call the local shelter program”. We know there is build up and tension as part of the cycle of violence. And we know leaving an abusive relationship is just one step in a journey of recovery.

You see, just because domestic violence is an old issue, it’s still a new issue and the only issue that matters to someone who has been beaten. Her journey has just started and she needs all the resources available to her. She is allowed to leave and then go back to her abuser because only she truly knows the level of danger she is in. Some of you know that I came to Dove from a domestic violence program in another part of the state. Our advocates worked in cubicles and from my office chair I could easily hear the conversations clients were having. I can’t tell you how many times I overheard someone say “If I knew about this program – I would have left years ago”. Imagine someone enduring more abuse because they did not know about the resources available to them.  Mary Hughes coordinates domestic violence services in Moultrie County for Dove. Last summer she wrote piece for the blog (see below, July 20) titled Building a Chain of Hope. I think it is the definitive piece that answers the question why does she stay and dispels the myth that leaving an abusive relationship is easy. I strongly recommend everybody reads it.

The domestic violence program is one of many programs that Dove operates to serve the community. It has a dedicated staff of 16 advocates and many volunteers. For them and all of us at Dove, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We can’t cure domestic violence, but your support fuels us to continue to provide everything that is needed for a victim’s journey to survival.

Jim Walters, Executive Director


Friday, October 26, 2012

You've been BOO-ed!

Today I’d like to share a fun way to get involved with your neighbors and community this Halloween.  The Community Services Program here at Dove encourages getting out in your neighborhoods and improving the communities in which we live.  You’ve been BOO-ed gives is something that gives you the opportunity to get out in your neighborhood AND have fun at the same time!

Here’s the gist of it and what the poster says:

The phantom ghost has come to town
To leave some goodies…I see you’ve found.
If you wish to make this a happier fall…
Continue this greeting, this phantom call.

First, post this Phantom where it can be seen,
And leave it there until Halloween.
This will scare other Phantoms who may visit.
Be sure to participate, you don’t want to miss it!

Second, make two treats and two copies from
Deliver them to two neighbors, try to stay calm.
Don’t let them see you, be sneaky, no doubt…
And make sure they put their Phantom Ghost out!

Next, you have only one day to act, so be quick!
Leave it at doors where the Phantom hasn’t hit.
Deliver at dark when there isn’t much light…
Ring the doorbell and run, and stay out of sight!

And last, but  not least, come join in the season.
Don’t worry, be happy, you need no good reason.
This is all in good fun and we are just trying to say…
Happy Halloween & Have a Great Day!

Here is the link for more information:

Hope everyone has fun!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Coats for Kids!

The 21st Annual Coats for Kids! will begin next Wednesday the 17th and will run through November 30.  It's simple folks, donate a coat you don't want or need anymore.  The cleaners will make them clean.  Then we'll take them to a clothing room so someone who needs a nice, warm winter coat can take it home with them!

When this drive started 21 years ago, one of the problems facing area clothing rooms was the lack of children's coats, never enough to cover the need.  Well, the coat drive has helped a great deal over the years.  But there are still cold kids who need a coat and so we keep hosting the program.

WAND has been the cosponsor of the drive each and every year.  Each year, one of the meteorologist
 lends their time and talent to the drive.

RSVP Volunteers keep the coats moving.  RSVP volunteers are amazing and this is just one of many, many projects they make happen each year.

61,252 coats have been cleaned and distributed to clothing rooms through this program.  We hope that added up to a lighter burden on some family budgets and most of all a warmer winter for many kids.

For now, clean out your closet, or the back seat of your car or down in the basement for any of those coats you're not using (adults and children coats accepted).  Then Wednesday, you can drop them off at one of the places listed below.  We'll take it from there and keep you posted.

(Need a coat, check back later for a participating clothing room.  When we start dropping off the clean coats to the clothing room, we'll let you know!)

Thanks to these Cleaners - they make sure every coat is clean and serve as a drop off site!
Classic Cleaners
2474 N. Main, Decatur
Corner Cleaning Connection
1154 E. Prairie, Decatur
Jane’s Cleaners
664 W. Eldorado, Decatur
Peerless Cleaners
519 N. Monroe, Decatur
Pride Cleaners and Launderers
2553 N. Main, Decatur
1804 E. Eldorado, Decatur
912 W. Eldorado, Decatur
2056 Mt. Zion Road, Decatur
Waite’s Cleaners
1004 S. Main, Decatur
115 Magnolia, Forsyth

Please use one of these drop-off sites:
CVS/pharmacy
Eldorado and Fairview, Decatur
16th & Cantrell, Decatur
Monroe and Pershing, Decatur
Decatur Public Library
130 N. Franklin Street, Decatur
Krogers
Airport Plaza
Brettwood Plaza
Fairview Plaza
South Shores Plaza
Land of Lincoln Credit Union
3130 E. Mound Road, Decatur
2890 N. Oakland, Decatur
Longcreek Township
2610 Salem School Road, Longcreek
Macon County Building
141 S. Main, Decatur
Regions
333 E. Pershing
2340 Mt. Zion Rd.
350 N. Water
1355 W. King
Richland Community College
1 College Park, Decatur
St. Teresa High School
2710 N. Water Street, Decatur

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Take a stand against domestic violence

How many times have you picked up our local newspaper, or turned on your TV to listen to the local news, only to read or hear about yet another domestic violence incident that has occurred in our community? What were your thoughts when you heard about the situation? Did you know either of the parties? Were there children involved? Did you perhaps witness the incident taking place? What was your response?

All of these questions come into play more and more often in the community in which we live. Did you know that within our state’s attorney’s office, one third of all criminal cases are domestic violence related. Have you noticed the increase in the number of pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence? Pregnant women are 60 percent more likely to suffer from domestic violence than women who are not pregnant.

Too often domestic violence is just ignored. Sadly, many people still believe it is a private matter and therefore they should not get involved.

Domestic violence knows no prejudice and crosses all boundaries. It can and does affect every single one of us. We all have responsibilities in taking a stand to eliminate domestic violence in our community!

What will you do?

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please come to Central Christian Church, 650 W. William Street, and take your stand on putting an end to domestic violence in our community by attending our annual Candlelighting Ceremony, 7:00 p.m. on the 11th. We will remember those who have suffered and died at the hands of their abuser, recognize the survivors and those working every day to help put an end to the abuse.

Teri Ducy