Carolyn Fish, handed out purple wristbands with the words
“Empower –End Domestic Violence” written on them at Monday’s press conference
designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Rockland County.
Fish, executive director of the Center For Safety & Change, said the word empower is critical to her organization’s goal.
“And these talk about empowering and that is the work that we do at the Center for Safety & Change,” she said. “Because helping to empower survivors of domestic assault and sexual trauma is our goal but we can’t do it alone. And we do it collaboratively with many, many people.”
County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, Legislative Chairwoman Harriet Cornell and District Attorney Thomas Zugibe joined her to speak about the pervasiveness of the problem and programs planned for October to raise awareness and draw attention to domestic violence.
Zugibe said the month should be a call to action for people.
“It is a scourge on Rockland County like it is everywhere in this country,” he said. “And it is a scourge that is very difficult to wrap your arms around. Too many people are aware and do nothing about it. Too many people fail to admit or just refuse to acknowledge it. Think about it, it covers every socioeconomic group. It covers every culture. It is everywhere.”
Fish said a lot has been done over the years but there is still long way to go. She said there were 85,000 cases of domestic violence in New York State last year and 60 deaths caused by domestic violence or intimate partner violence.
“In Rockland County the Center for Safety & Change saw approximately 250 in some months 300 people per month in our walk in office,” said Fish. “One in four women will be victimized by their intimate partner. We’re talking about an enormous problem.”
Fish spoke about numerous events scheduled for October to help domestic violence and intimate partner violence survivors, remember victims and thank supporters. By wearing purple or shining purple lights, she said people could contribute to the effort to “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence.”
October 16 is Wear Purple Day and on October 24 a silent student procession, Walk With Me, will take place at Rockland Community College.
“It’s a very serious issue,” said Vanderhoef. “It’s a very important month.”
The Center for Safety & Change has a 24-hour hotline: 845-634-3344 and information about its services can be found at here.
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