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Silent Witness message: speak out against domestic violence

As Domestic Violence Awareness month draws to a close, many support groups are preparing their final events for this year's campaign. In California, a number of marches entitled "Peace For Families" have been organized by the Silent Witness Project. It is hoped that the cumulative effects of the project's exhibition will highlight the work done to tackle domestic violence issues in the communities of Merced County.

Developed in a partnership between Valley Crisis Center and Merced County Human Services, this exhibit has moved around several communities during this month. It features life-size silhouettes representing those who can no longer speak for themselves, but each conveys a story of survival. Each story encourages other such survivors to gather their courage and speak out against the abuse they have suffered. It may commonly be physical in nature, but awareness is also growing of the dangers of emotional or psychological abuse.

In this one county alone, police may receive around four calls per day relating to incidents of domestic violence. The sooner one understands how such behavior manifests itself, the sooner he or she can take action to prevent it from escalating. Following an incident, an abuser may promise that it will never happen again. This can become a classic pattern where eventually the victim can find himself or herself being told that it is their own actions that are prompting the abuse.

There are many groups available to assist victims and support them in finding safety. California residents should remember that there are also various legal options available to them, such as restraining orders, which can enhance these measures. If one can find the courage to seek appropriate advice and guidance at an early stage, it may be possible for victims to avoid more serious consequences of domestic violence.

Source: fresnobee.com, "Silent Witness Project ends with peace march on Wednesday", Oct. 20, 2014

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