Domestic Violence Awareness Month brings problem to light

Domestic violence can leave a devastating impact of the lives of victims.

"The only way we are going to stop it is to get it out in the open - make the public more aware of it," Pat Pirkle, Mohave County Victim/Witness Program domestic violence coordinator, said.

In Mohave County the number of domestic violence cases reported to law enforcement agencies continues to be alarming.

To date this year there have been 607 female and 129 male cases of domestic violence reported to law enforcement, according to Pirkle.

Sadly, in roughly half of the homes where domestic violence occurs, child abuse also exists, she said.

Domestic violence can occur between anyone living under the same roof.

"It doesn't just happen with spouses or those in an intimate relationship," she said.

"It can occur between roommates, or even a caretaker living under the same roof.

It could be any domestic situation."

On Oct.

7 the Mohave County Board of Supervisors will sign a proclamation declaring October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is a devastating problem for families, communities and businesses.

It is especially devestating for women.

The American Medical Association reports between two and five million women are battered each year in the United States.

The Kingman Police Department, Mohave County Sheriff's Office and Department of Public Safety will participate in raising awareness by placing purple balls on the antennas of their vehicles throughout the month of October.

In addition, on Oct.

12 the public is invited to participate in the "Walk Against Violence" hosted by the Mohave County Attorney Victim Witness Office.

The walk will begin at 9 a.m.

at Centennial Park, with walkers carrying purple balloons in memory of domestic violence victims.

At the end of the walk the balloons will be released.

There will be activities throughout the day, music and information about domestic and teen dating violence, Pirkle said.

Walkers will receive free T-shirts, water bottles, and "goody bags".

There will be prizes for the people that collect the most pledges.

After the walk there will be a free barbecue lunch for participants.

On Oct.

7, Soroptimist International of Kingman members will "paper the town purple" for the sixth year in a row.

On that day, Kingman Soroptimists will join with Soroptimists all over the world in distributing cards with information about domestic abuse prevention.

The cards, which will be purple - the color associated with domestic violence- will be distributed to restrooms in local workplaces.

The Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence event will coincide with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's (NCADV) Day of Unity - an annual event when individuals can show their solidarity with battered women and children.

"The workplace is the ideal place to help women facing domestic violence because it's where these women spend at least eight hours a day away from their abusers," said Krystal Burge, Kingman Soroptimist president.

Also, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, purple pins will be sold during October at Sarah's House, 2800 A, E Andy Devine Ave.

or they can be purchased at "Walk Against Violence."

Anyone wanting to participate or needing more information can contact Sarah's House at 718-5522.

Pirkle said domestic violence occurs in secrecy and thrives upon silence.

Throughout the county, members of the community will join together in various efforts to eliminate abuse in all its forms.

Domestic violence victims who contact Sarah's House Victim/Witness Center get support and counseling, as well as referrals to other agencies for additional help.

They are also given a de-activated cell phone, which like any active, or inactive, cell phone can be used to dial 911.

In some cases if a woman, or man, decides to leave the abuser, someone at the center helps the client find a place to live or a bus ticket to another town.

But Pirkle said leaving an abuser isn't necessarily a choice every victim makes.

"There is a lot to consider, especially if there are children, or if the abuser is the sole provider," she said.

"A victim goes back to the abuser and average of nine times before actually leaving."

The time the victim actually leaves the abuser is often the most dangerous time.

"It is the most dangerous time because abuse is about power and control and when the victim leaves, the abuser loses that."

Many women have been seriously hurt or killed after leaving an abuser, she added.

"We must bring this problem of domestic violence out in the open and confront it," Pirkle said.

"Anyone going through that situation needs as much help as possible."