Dove is a coalition of religious organizations, volunteers and advocates that seek to coordinate efforts to address unmet human needs and social injustices.
Dove works for justice, equality and understanding among all people.
Lifestyle, by definition is the typical way of life for a
person or a culture.Lifestyle choices
can encompass many things.You may
choose to be married, or single, or some variation in between.You may choose to buy a home or rent or live
with family.You may choose a “green”
lifestyle with the ideal of leaving a better world for future generations.You may choose many things to fill your
leisure time, many things to be interested in, many things to teach your
children…….which you may or may not choose to have.Location, finances, education, family or
work responsibilities….all of these things and others can have an impact on the
lifestyle choices you make.
But domestic violence is one thing that is not a lifestyle
choice.For far too long society assumed
that a victim of domestic violence…………….and victims come in all shapes and
sizes, all ages, all genders, all education and all economic levels………….chooses
to live this way.Victims are assumed to
be weak…….to be stupid……….to enjoy this way of life………many myths that are
completely ludicrous and completely untrue.The truth is victims are just exactly that………victims of a crime, a crime
not only against them but against the laws of the State of Illinois.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior designed to keep
the victim under the power and control of the abuser.Far too often the victim is blamed for the
violence when it is the perpetrator of abuse who should be held accountable.Can you imagine the public outcry if you
blamed the bank teller when banks were robbed? That would be no different than
blaming the domestic violence victim for being abused.The domestic violence perpetrator is just as
guilty of an unprovoked crime as the bank robber is; and the victim in each
case is simply the victim.
For far too long we have asked the question…..” Why does she
stay?”when what we should be asking is
“Why is he allowed to get away with this behavior over and over?”There are almost as many reasons why a victim
stays as there are victims.Each situation
is unique……..victims may stay for financial reasons, they may stay because they
have nowhere to go, if they have somewhere to go they may have no way to get
there.Many victims have been threatened
with the loss of their children…….or the loss of their lives if they try to
leave.The pattern of behavior designed
to give the batterer power and control is insidious…..after a period of time
the victim has no self esteem left, possibly no contact with family and friends
and believes that they cannot take care of themselves.Sometimes staying where they are is the
safest place for a victim……..she knows where her abuser is and what he is doing
and when she is in danger.When victims
leave a domestic violence situation they are much more likely to be severely
injured or killed………when the abuser realizes control is slipping away he
becomes much more dangerous.
While every situation can be very different…………there is one
common denominator in all of them.Domestic violence is a CRIME.It is against the law.The state of Illinois has very good laws
against domestic violence.Relentless
prodding over the years by the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence has
resulted in strong laws which are improved almost every year.We all just need to do our respective part to
make sure that the laws are upheld.Advocates who work with victims need to be sure we are doing our best to
educate, to safety plan, and to empower victims to make the call to law
enforcement when needed.We also need to
educate the public so that people are more aware of domestic violence and
understand that sometimes they need to make calls to law enforcement.Law enforcement and the other aspects of the
criminal justice system have well-defined responsibilities under IDVA;
continuing education will ensure that they are current on laws.An understanding of the basic nature of
domestic violence will enable all of them to perform their responsibilities to
hold the perpetrators of domestic violence accountable.By doing these things routinely hopefully we
can decrease the number of domestic violence incidents.By remembering that domestic violence is a
crime….just like DUI, bank robbery, burglary, etc., etc., etc.,The fact thatthe victim has a relationship with the
perpetrator should never make DV less of a crime……………..if anything, it should
be looked at as an aggravating factor.Not only is a DV victim a true victim of a crime against the
State……………it is at the hand of someone who is supposed to be loving and
trustworthy.I don’t think any of us can
honestly say we know anyone who would actually make that as a lifestyle choice.
Susie Kensil, Shelby County Domestic Violence Coordinator
Have you always wanted to know more about domestic violence? Would you be interested in working with domestic violence victims and their children? Our program is always in need of volunteers - to assist in answering our hotline, covering the shelter, clerical tasks, assisting with orders of protection, co-facilitating support groups, etc. Our next Domestic Violence Education & Training will begin on October 15th. Sessions will be every Tuesday and Thursday night through November 21st. Cost is $150, however there is a waiver process that may be considered. - Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director
Dates and Times:
October 15, 27, 22, 24, 29, 31
November 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21
5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
If interested, please contact Barb Blakey, Director of Volunteers and Community Relations at 428 6616.
Complete a phone interview by noon, Tuesday, October 8
Attend one of the registration meetings to complete the process,
Thursday, October 10, noon to 1:00 p.m. OR 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Dove, Inc. / Anna B. Millikin Home
Dean Simcox Conference Center, 302 S. Union, Decatur, Illinois