Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Coalition
All across the country, individuals and organizations that work with victims of domestic violence are engaging in activities during October to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). The activities throughout the month honor victims of domestic violence, living and deceased.
Since crimes such as domestic violence are major contributors to homelessness, particularly for women and children, Coalition for the Homeless observes DVAM each year as part of our Victims Services Program. The Program provides case management, support groups and referrals to victims of crime, predominantly domestic violence, who reside at the Coalition’s facilities.
Thanks to our very dedicated victims’ advocates, the messages about empowerment; courage; abusive relationships; and positive, healthy relationships are stressed all year long as part of individual and group sessions with adult and young victims. The focus is even stronger during October, when the activities highlight three main areas:
- Educating women about what to do and where they can go if they are in an abusive situation. Group meetings and activities also stress the courage needed not to go back into any abusive situation.
- Teaching appropriate behavior to young boys through strong male role models. Our women are encouraged to involve these types of males in their sons’ lives.
- Empowering victims to take care of themselves.
The messages permeate both the Coalition’s main campus and Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC). However, since about 85% of the women and children at WRCC are victims of crime, most of the special activities take place there. The month began with a nurturing beauty night of haircuts and manicures, thanks to Florida Technical College, where the focus was on taking care of oneself. Both the women being pampered and the cosmetologists had a wonderful time and the school can’t wait to come back.
Next, our ladies watched “Enough,” a movie about a woman who had the courage to leave a very abusive husband. The October 17 activity will bring a spiritual speaker who will share about “Staying on your Purpose.”
The fourth activity combines clay hand prints to be made by the WRCC youngsters with the instruction of artist Catherine Cross, an introduction to “Miles the Dog,” and the painting of tee-shirts for the Clothesline Project. The tee-shirts, which express the victims’ feelings about their experience with domestic violence, will be hung on clotheslines at both campuses.
The month will culminate with closing ceremonies led by Orlando World Outreach Church. The heartfelt evening will combine poetry reading, music, a candle lighting ceremony, and the release of balloons by the children, who will each see a “bad feeling” symbolically float away.