OCTOBER IS Domestic Violence Awareness Month and officials with Tri-County Help Center, Inc., St. Clairsville, are asking area citizens to consider joining their ranks for a brief public awareness raising march through the heart of downtown St. Clairsville beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
The path marchers follow will go from the Tri-County Help Center, onto U.S. 40 East, continuing to the nearby courthouse. Once having reached the courthouse steps a brief program centering on a featured speaker Chatman Nelly's message, will begin.
Neely, senior lecturer with West Virginia University's School of Applied Sciences - Division of Social Work, was previously affiliated with local domestic violence prevention and awareness programs, including Tri-County Help Center Inc.
'Peace Begins At Home,' is the message carried by long time Tri-County Help Center Volunteer Helen Sirca during the 2009 March for Domestic Violence Awareness event held in downtown St. Clairsville a year ago. This year's march will be held on Wednesday, October 20. March participants will gather in the parking lot of Tri-County and will begin walking toward the Belmont County courthouse steps at 6 p.m.
After the program participants will return, in complete silence, to the parking areas surrounding Tri-County's office.
The center is located at 104 N. Marietta Street, near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Ohio 9.
A reception at the Tri-County offices will follow the marchers having returned to the center.
"We walk in silence back to the center specifically as a way to give a voice to those who have been silenced as a direct result of domestic violence," offered Planey.
Officials from the center said their efforts are aimed at the mission to promote empowerment and growth for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence. Through community support, the agency works with these individuals and their loved ones to move forward in the fight against family violence.
Anyone wanting to take part should simply show up at the parking lot area by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, offered Tri-County's Public Education Coordinator Paula Planey.
ABATE, a group of local law enforcement personnel who enjoy riding motorcycles together, and who often do so in support of charitable or public service endeavors such as is this event, is joining in this year's awareness march.
Almost 400 victims of domestic violence living in the local area received services from Tri-County Help Center.
In addition to the victims assisted by Tri-County Help Center this year, the agency also provided emergency safe shelter for more than 100 of those same people - victims of domestic violence. Few Americans can honestly say they have not seen or heard an incident of domestic violence, say several statistical sources.
Despite ongoing efforts to reduce the number of cases of domestic abuse, many communities in the Ohio Valley and across the nation continue to see no real improvement or decline. Anyone interested in supporting this effort by participating as a marcher is invited to so.
The problem of domestic violence affects all Americans, as it continues to exact a terrible toll on our nation citizens at many levels, its devastation knowing no boundaries, according to Planey and other social science experts.
"We generally get about 40 to 50 people to participate in the awareness walk," said Planey. "But we would love to see that number really go up. A big increase in the number of people who walk with us would point toward success of efforts taken to expand public awareness about the need to prevent domestic violence."
Another recognized benefit of awareness raising events is hey can increase public connections to pivotal programs and services already in place and generally designed to provide needed resources vital to begin stopping a cycle of violence.
Increasing basic awareness of the fact that domestic violence is never alright is a core message Tri-County Help Center wants to share through these community education and general communications efforts.
Loccisano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org