Community rallies to raise awareness of domestic violence

Mark McClain, Pacific County prosecutor, spoke last week to community members attending a domestic violence-awareness event at the Courthouse in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — Members of the Raymond High School football team, local law enforcement officers, South Bend Fire Department and the Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office came together with Crisis Support Network on Oct. 22 at the Courthouse to raise awareness about local issues related to domestic violence and call attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“This year alone Crisis Support Network has served 59 new clients and are presently working with 162 existing domestic violence clients in Pacific County, which demonstrates this remains an on-going issue within our community,” said Rachel Stanton, domestic violence sexual assault victim advocate for Crisis Support Network.

According to Stanton, every nine seconds a woman is assaulted by an intimate partner. Studies suggest up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually, and one in three women, and one in four men, are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. On a typical day there are more than 20,000 calls placed to U.S. domestic violence hot lines.

“Crisis Support Network has operated Washington’s Domestic Violence Hotline for more than 20 years,” Stanton said in a press release. “Pacific County is not immune from this issue and we came together tonight to ‘Shed the Light’ on this local issue by lighting of sky lanterns to raise awareness and celebrate those who have survived domestic violence in their lives.”

“I am honored to participate in this event,” said Scott Johnson, Pacific County sheriff. “Pacific County deputies have responded to 139 domestic violence calls this year and made 43 arrests.”

Mark McClain, Pacific County prosecutor, said, “In the aftermath of an assault, the criminal justice system offers some assistance in an attempt to change an offender’s behavior, but it is the wrap-around services that are truly the only real opportunity to break this cycle. Having officers intervene when crisis occurs, having advocates there to assist with emergent needs like housing, food, gas, counseling, and provide long-term safety planning, provides some aid, but with that we are simply not reaching everyone in need. We need community members to have the courage to support these victims by reporting crime, assisting as witnesses when needed, and calling upon their community groups to address what is often ignored because it is viewed as a private matter.”

McClain concluded, “This kind of violence cannot exist when it is brought into the light of public scrutiny and it is for that reason our Office lent its support to ‘Shed the Light’ on this issue.”

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