• Karen Heckman Stork

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Quote: “The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious…” Lundy Bancroft

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence can take many forms, including verbal and emotional abuse that I talk about in my book “Screw The Eggshells — Finding My Self After Verbal and Emotional Abuse.”

Just as marijuana or alcohol may be “gateway drugs” to deadlier narcotics, so can verbal and emotional abuse be a starting point to actual physical violence. But even if the verbal abuse does not escalate, it is still a form of domestic violence and must be recognized as such.

An organization in Lincoln that supports women who have been victims of domestic violence or other forms of abuse is Voices of Hope (VOH). Their mission is to provide crisis intervention, 24-hour-a-day advocacy and case management services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, incest, stalking and related forms of abuse. They also provide presentations for citizen awareness as well as prevention and other training opportunities for professionals who work with individuals who’ve experienced such abuse.

Voices of Hope began in 1975 and in 1976 was known as the Rape/Spouse Abuse Crisis Center. For 2-1/2 years in the 1990s, I worked as a telephone volunteer for the organization. Their present facility at 2545 N Street was purchased in 1992, and in 2007 they officially changed their names to Voices of Hope.

The annual Open House and Candlelight Vigil for victims of domestic violence will be held this year on Thursday, October 12 at 2545 N Street. The open house will be 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and the Candlelight Vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m.

I am honored to be a speaker during the program at 7:30 p.m. and will be reading from my book about the more subtle and less visible forms of abuse that many women experience, but don’t realize help is available for them also. Verbal abuse leaves “hidden” scars on the psyche and often causes women who are on the receiving end of such abuse to lose their self confidence and doubt their own feelings.

Action for the Week: Listen to the women in your life and support their dreams.

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