Festival increases awareness of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The agency, which provides 24-hour peer crisis counseling through the crisis line at 257-5004 or 1-888-289-5004, emergency shelter and a host of other services to domestic violence victims, sold about 60 $15 tickets for the spaghetti dinner and dance or $5 tickets just for the dance.
Linda McAndrews, former LFS executive director who recently took a job with the California Correctional Center, sang two songs as a thank you to the LFS staff for their 16 years of dedicated service while she worked at LFS.
With backup from her mother, Ruth Lyon, on keyboard, Mike Smith on guitar and Jon Jocelyn on standup base, McAndrews sang “Fever,” and “Higher Authority,” by Janet Myatt, a victim of domestic violence.
Local bands, including the Purple Blues Band and the Jim Rainbow Band and another group of musicians, donated the music and Sam Williams donated his services on the sound board to the event.
“It was for public awareness,” said Lesa VanMeter, LFS’s legal advocate for the domestic violence assistance program. “Domestic Violence Awareness Month is one of our biggest things we put on for public awareness.”
VanMeter said all the proceeds go to victims of domestic violence and their families. LFS plans to hold the dinner and dance again next year, but may change the name because the music “wasn’t really all blues,” she said.
With only two months of planning the last minute idea came off well, but will take more planning next year, VanMeter said.
Domestic Violence Awareness
Lassen Family Services urges those who are at risk or know someone at risk for domestic violence to consider these questions:
•Does the abuse include choking?
•Is there a gun in the house?
•Are there street drugs used?
•Is there a history of mental illness?
•Are there threats to kill you, your children or pets?
•Were you beaten while pregnant?
•Is there violent and constant jealousy?
•Has there been a threat of, or attempted suicide?
•Is there violence toward your children, especially if they are from another relationship?
•Is the person violent outside of the home?
ll of these factors can be directly linked to past domestic violence homicides, and are weighted to attempt to predict future violent behavior.
Only the community can prevent the violence, by assisting victims, reporting abuse, enforcing the laws, and holding batterers accountable for their actions.
Dometic violence is a growing problem. LFS compiled statistics showing that between 1998 and 2002, family violence accounted for 11 percent of all reported and unreported violence. Of the 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 11 percent were sons or daughters victimized by a parent. About 22 percent of murders in 2002 were family murders, and of these, 6 percent were murders of sons or daughters by a parent.
The average age of sons or daughters killed was 7 years, and four out of five victims killed were under age 13.
Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually. All children who live with domestic violence are affected by the experience. Some of them are severely traumatized by their exposure to domestic violence, particularly if they are also victims of child abuse.
The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse suggests that domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in this country, as outlined in the statistics above.
A batterer may intentionally injure children in an effort to intimidate and control his/her intimate partner. These assaults can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the children. Children are also injured — either intentionally or accidentally — during attacks on their mothers.
In a national survey of more than 6,000 American families, 50 percent of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children. This is not a gender-specific issue, women can also be perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse.
Children are adversely affected by witnessing domestic violence. Those who are exposed to domestic violence are likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety and violence towards peers. They are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.
Although many parents believe they can hide domestic violence from their children, research suggests that 80 to 90 percent of these children are aware of the violence. Even if they do not see a beating, they hear the screams and see the bruises, broken bones, and abrasions sustained by their mothers.
Infants exposed to violence may not develop the attachments to their caretakers that are critical to their development. Preschool children in violent homes experience delays in development and suffer sleep disturbances, including nightmares. School-aged children exhibit a range of problem behaviors including depression, anxiety and violence towards peers.
Adolescents who have grown up in violent homes are at risk for recreating the abusive relationships they have seen. There is a greater likelihood that children who witness domestic violence will grow up to abuse their own partners or become victims themselves. Therefore, children exposed to domestic violence create the next generation of the cycle of violence.
To volunteer, contact Lassen Family Services, 1306 Riverside Drive, Susanville, 257-4599 or if you need help, call the Crisis Line at 257-5004 or 1-888-289-5004.
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