The Hope Crisis Center is on a mission to make meaningful change in Jefferson County, raising awareness about the how domestic violence affects many lives. Throughout the month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they are spreading their hope to put an end to domestic violence.
Carmen Hinman, Director of the Hope Crisis Center, emphasized how severe domestic violence is, explaining that it leaves scars that may never heal.
“Domestic violence is about power and control over another person in a relationship,” said Hinman. “No one should have to live a life fearful of their partner in any way, shape or form. Whether it is financial, emotional, physical or sexual, it can take many forms, and I don’t think that people fully realize how it affects people.”
Hinman encourages people to take a stand against domestic violence in all forms, emphasizing that their action could help to save lives.
“I think it’s important to act when you see the signs,” Hinman said. “It’s not going to stop on its own. Domestic violence is not going to stop if we, as a bystander, as a friend, as a family member or someone in the community, doesn’t start speaking up and letting people know that this is not okay. If you’re not comfortable intervening, call somebody, tell somebody. Make an effort to do something about it.”
Oftentimes the blame for domestic violence is placed on the victim, Hinman explained, which is not right. Blaming the victim only allows the violence to continue.
“We need to put the blame where the blame is due,” said Hinman. “It’s not the fault of the victim. We as a community need to really understand that instead of placing the blame where it isn’t deserved. If we ever want to see this come to an end, we need to support the victims and we have to take action. Domestic violence is not acceptable! If we continue to let this be our culture, nothing will ever change.”
Hinman reminds people that domestic violence goes beyond the month of October, explaining that the Hope Crisis Center helps thousands of people every year, taking calls on their crisis line, providing shelter for the victims of domestic violence and giving victims the support they need.
“Domestic violence is still a problem we are working to diminish,” Hinman said. “We are called to action to put an end to this issue. We are still educating people about domestic violence every day.”
If people are interested in showing their support for the Hope Crisis Center can make monetary donations, or donate basic necessity items. Most of all, Hinman emphasized, if people want to support the mission of the Hope Crisis Center, they have to speak out against domestic violence and take action.
Hinman explained that during the month of October, the Hope Crisis Center is hosting a number of events to raise awareness. On Oct. 28, at Wal-Mart in Fairbury, they are hosting their “Stuff the Van” event, where people are invited to donate items to help the victims of domestic violence.
Another event that is new this year is the “Dogs Against Domestic Violence” event in Charles Park in Beatrice on Oct. 24, from 4-7 p.m. The Hope Crisis Center is partnering with the Beatrice Humane Society to host the event which will feature vendors, food stands and other fun activities, all to raise awareness about domestic violence and to show how it affects pets. Hinman invites everyone to attend this event, and to bring their dogs for a night in the park.
“If we can bring people together to understand just how serious domestic violence is, maybe then we will be able to make a change in our society and put an end to domestic violence,” said Hinman. “It will take cultural change to make a difference.”