BY DEBBIE PAGE
About 25 community leaders and concerned residents chose to “walk a mile in their shoes” on Tuesday evening as part of the Domestic Violence Task Force of Iredell’s campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence and the many resources in Iredell County available to help those wishing to escape an abusive relationship.
Statesville Police Department Community Resource Coordinator Pam Navey welcomed the walkers to the event, which started with a ceremony on the steps of the Mitchell Community College Library, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh expressed his appreciation for those who work with domestic violence victims every day.
“I know you’re out there pushing hard to absolve society of domestic violence. I’m so proud of the successes I hear and learn about that many of you are of a part of, and I urge you to continue the fight,” he said. “I just learn as I get older that the only way we are going to solve any of society’s problems is one person at a time, one family at a time.”
“Don’t ever despair. Know that people in the community appreciate your work. It’s not easy work, and I know there’s a lot of heartbreak,” added Kutteh, who presented Navey with a Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation.
City Council member Doris Allison remembered that people once tolerated domestic violence to keep the family together, hoping that things would get better.
“But sometimes things don’t work out that way,” she said.
Allison noted that people who leave unhealthy relationships are strong survivors. No one should feel less than who they are, she added, a advocating for love and treating others with respect and never resorting to physical harm.
District Attorney Sarah Kirkman wanted to celebrate the successes that she’s seen. She recounted a case in which a victim continued to stay with her abuser because she loved him, despite numerous assaults.
After she got some support and counseling, Kirkman said that “she came to realize that love doesn’t hurt. She realized he did not love her, so through that process, she was able to get her life back. That’s more important than anything that happens in court.”
Kirkman asked attendees to “stay vigilant. Stay aware of what’s going on around you. Keep coming together as a community so that hopefully every year we can come back to celebrate one more success like that.”
Assistant Statesville Police Chief Bryan Johnson said being a part of the walk was important to SPD officers because they are part of a team of resources in the community to help victims of domestic violence. That support that did not exist 28 years ago when he first started in law enforcement, Johnson said.
“It’s so amazing to see the resources and training the officers are getting now on how to better investigate so the cases can be prosecuted thoroughly,” he added.
My Sister’s House Victim Advocate Misty McGill invited the walkers to the18th Annual Battle of the Badges Softball Tournament on Saturday, October 14. The event will feature teams from all the county’s law enforcement agencies. Proceeds will benefit My Sister’s House, the county’s domestic violence/sexual assault women and children’s shelter. The tournament will take place at Mazeppa Park (645 Mazeppa Road, Mooresville) starting at 9 a.m.
My Sister’s House Victim Advocate Emily Cowan said the event will feature a raffle, a bake sale, and concessions.
After Tuesday’s ceremony, the walkers, with most decked out in purple, picked up their signs, ribbons, and bracelets and took to the streets of Downtown Statesville, waving at passers-by and passing traffic to call attention to this serious community issue.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SIGNS
Domestic violence, battering, or family abuse describe a pattern of behavior used to control intimate partners, including any type of violence, abuse, or threat that one partner commits against another, whether physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and psychological attacks.
Domestic violence affects millions of people — most often women. They may suffer punches, kicks, slaps, shoves, hits, degrading remarks, a partner forcing them to perform degrading tasks, sexual assault, rape, and other tactics to establish the abuser’s power and control.
Has your partner ever:
♦ Hit, kick, shove or injured you in any way?
♦ Forced or coerced you to engage in unwanted sexual acts?
♦ Controlled what you do and who you see in a way that interferes with your work, education or other activities?
♦ Stolen or or destroyed your belongings?
♦ Criticized you, put you down, or called you names?
♦ Made you feel afraid or uneasy?
♦ Threatened to hurt you or others close to you?
♦ Denied your basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, or medical and physical assistance?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider your safety.
The Domestic Violence Information & Resource Guide for Iredell County has contact information for many community resources and safe shelter, information on creating an exit plan to help victims safely escape their domestic violence situation, and information on legal actions you can take to protect yourself and your children.
To access the Domestic Violence Information & Resource Guide for Iredell County, visit HERE.
♦ October 18 – Domestic Violence Task Force Meeting at Mitchell Community College Mooresville Campus with special DV Simulation and lunch provided from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Contact Pam Navey for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
♦ October 24 – DV Awareness “Walk A Mile in Their Shoes” in Downtown Mooresville. Meet in front of Charles Mack Citizens Center at 5:45 p.m. Walk begins at 6 p.m.
♦ October 28 – National Drug Take-Back Day. In Statesville, the event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two locations: Walgreen Pharmacy (951 Davie Avenue) and CVS Pharmacy (1550 Wilkesboro Highway). The Mooresville Police Department will host a drug and syringe take-back event from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Cannon Pharmacy (521 East Plaza Drive, Mooresville).
♦ “PURPLE-OUT” Days on each Friday in October – Wear purple to bring awareness to domestic violence in the workplace, school and community. The color purple is a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending violence. Share pictures & messages at #dvpeace23 on FaceBook.
♦ During October, the EMPTY PLACE AT THE TABLE exhibit can be viewed at all Iredell County Libraries and the Iredell Hall of Justice along with the SILENT WITNESS exhibit at the Mitchell Community College Student Union.
Contact My Sister’s House for domestic violence and sexual assault Information and for resources available in Iredell County at its 24-Hour Crisis Line at 704-872-3403.