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Shantly Cooke

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While the majority of our focus may be on raising much needed funds for local shelters, we would be remiss if we didn't also take the time to educate you about domestic violence.Too often, our CAUSE has been swept under the rug due to its discomforting nature. By not raising our voices to speak out against domestic violence, we are passively enabling the cycle of violence to continue.

Domestic violence is defined by pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. It is one partner's behavior being used to gain or maintain control over the other. Domestic Violence has many forms. It can be physical aggression and violence, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, intimidation and economic deprivation. Domestic violence does NOT discriminate. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a socio-economic side effect. Nor does it only occur in situations where alcohol and drug abuse or mental illness is present.

One in four women in the United States reports violence by a current or former partner at some point in her life, and those statistics only account for the women that are brave enough to come forward. And with teenagers and younger women most at risk for violence, an early education by parents and other life teachers is a must. Children that grow up in abusive households are more likely to become abusers as adults, so we need your help to break the cycle.

The signs that someone is in an abusive relationship are not always as obvious as a black eye. The signs could range from a timid response, the inability to be allowed to make decisions on their own. Do not be afraid to ask if they need help. A simple "are you okay?" can go a long way.

You should be supportive and encourage any victim you are helping. Keep in mind the person in the abusive relationship does not always see how unhealthy it really is. They have to be willing to accept the help. If you know someone in an abusive relationship enlist the help of a domestic violence counselor who is better equipped to handle someone in transition.

Always remember that trying to handle an already volatile situation with violence is never the answer. Contact your local authorities.

Your much needed donations will be put to good use at one of our affiliated local shelters.

Safe Alliance Women's Resource Center Turning Point
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