The Board of County Commissioners is proclaiming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to call on the community to help prevent domestic violence and abuse. In addition, the county encourages participation in local educational and awareness events as part of a nationwide observance to help end these crimes.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or class. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in any relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner or family. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. It can occur within various relationships, including people who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence victims may also include a child, relative, or any other household member.
Domestic violence is a pervasive, often life-threatening crime affecting millions of individuals across our nation. Nationally, an average of 3 women are killed daily by a former or current intimate partner. In addition, children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, become victims of human trafficking, and commit sexual assault crimes.
"Everyone deserves relationships free from domestic violence," said Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller. "We are asking everyone to join us in speaking out against abuse and taking a stand against domestic violence."
SAFE of Columbia County works towards the prevention and elimination of domestic violence. SAFE provides confidential advocacy and emergency shelter for survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence. They operate a 24/7 crisis helpline (503-397-6161) with staff and/or volunteers trained in crisis intervention and knowledge of community resources. The hotline provides a nonjudgmental response to callers' needs for information on domestic violence, safety planning, and appropriate referrals. All of SAFE's services are free and available to anyone affected by violence.
In Columbia County, SAFE serves an average of 800 unduplicated people each year through advocacy, shelter, support, and educational groups. Before COVID, when SAFE provided prevention programming in the schools, they served an additional 1400 children and youth.
Domestic and sexual violence severely impact not only victims but the entire fabric of society. If you are in an abusive relationship, the following resources can help:
If the event of an emergency, call 911, the County Sheriff's office, or your local law enforcement agency. Remember, no one deserves to be abused.