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Domestic Violence Awareness Month – KWO’s Efforts to Support the Cause

By Genie Dethloff, Publicity Chair KWO.

(Oct. 8, 2020) — October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), a month of activities that celebrate survivors and raise awareness about the issue and the services available to help victims and survivors. Killingworth Women’s Organization (KWO) has marked the town with signs including purple ribbons in support of DVAM and to increase awareness. On October 22 which is Purple Thursday, you can wear purple to show your support.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem “No state, no city, no community, and no neighborhood is immune from domestic violence. Perpetrators and victims come from all races, religions, cultures, age groups, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.” (Source: 2018-2020 GFWC Club Manual: Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention)

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) defines Domestic violence as “a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse.”(Source: www.ctcadv.org)

The CCADV (www.ctcadv.org) supports our state in preventing domestic violence.  They report serving 37,773 individuals victimized by domestic violence who sought assistance through their 18 member organizations last program year, yet more cases of domestic violence in Connecticut go unreported. The CCADV member organization for Middlesex County is New Horizons Domestic Violence Services in Middletown (www.newhorizonsdv.com) which serves over 1000 individuals over a year, and is an organization the KWO has supported with donations for years.

One of KWO’s most active committees is the Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention Committee (DVAP). KWO’s efforts include bringing awareness of the problem, its impact on the community and ways to help through events, panels and various other means. Some of their past efforts included:

  • Organized a workshop on domestic violence for local residents.
  • Worked with a local acting group to put on a docudrama at the high school about a girl assaulted on a college campus.
  • Reached out to the Haddam-Killingworth schools to offer our assistance in their implementing Erin’s Law, a law to provide education to all age school children in preventing sexual abuse.

Various donation drives to collect items for women and children who are living in a safe house overseen by New Horizons in Middletown has been a main DVAP activity . The drives include collection of holiday presents, welcome bags for new residents, pajamas for women and children, new mattresses for the shelter, and other needed items for the shelter. For two years, around the holidays, KWO donated home furnishing items to women who had been victims of domestic violence but had survived and were ready to move to their own homes. In 2018, KWO had an event celebrating women with 130 women attending and 20 female vendors – proceeds went to New Horizons and other DVAP projects.

Women from KWO who are increasing awareness of domestic violence by placing signs around Killingworth for DVA Month

The DVAP Committee is looking for new projects and new members to join the committee. KWO’s parent organization, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), has expanded their interest beyond intimate partner abuse to violence against women in all forms: elder abuse, teen dating violence, campus sexual assault, violence against women of color, and child abuse, as well as to engaging men to promote respectful behavior and help prevent relationship abuse (Source: 2018-2020 GFWC Club Manual: Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention). If you are interested in any of these issues, please join us. To learn about KWO go to www.kwoct.org or email info@kwoct.org.

If you need help or someone to talk to in Middlesex County, contact New Horizons Domestic Violence Services in Middletown at their 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-774-2900 or www.newhorizonsdv.com. From anywhere in Connecticut you can call or text (888) 774-2900, 24/7 or visit CTSafeConnect.org.

Photo Credit: Isabel Rochette

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