Domestic violence occurs year around

Melissa Elges

Melissa Elges

It’s happening. Odds are it’s happening in your neighborhood, to the person sitting next to you at church, to your sister, your daughter or it will happen to someone you haven’t even met yet. Domestic violence is happening in our community, in our neighborhoods and to the people we know. It doesn’t always show up front and center in the form of a black eye or visible bruises. Domestic violence is not a distant problem; it’s a pervasive issue that affects countless individuals and families, irrespective of race, class, or gender. It thrives in the shadows, hidden behind closed doors, masked by shame, fear, and societal taboos.

Douglas County Family Support Council provides does have a safe haven for anyone who comes in contact with a victim who needs support.  In July, the organization hosted a private event to start a conversation about raising more funds for our Domestic Violence program and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support - calls, texts, ideas, donations - we’ve been receiving since. We are not stopping here. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this year the organization is calling out to the community to bring awareness surrounding Domestic Violence in our community and to continue the movement to financially sustain the Domestic Violence program and shelter.

When I say that Domestic Violence is happening here, I speak the truth. Already this year, Family Support Council has provided 1,100 bed nights at our confidential shelter to 17 families. They supported and advocated for 63 new survivors of domestic violence and 36 survivors of sexual crimes. The average cost per bed night is $12.50, which means it costs $13,750 to house victims in Douglas County.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a domestic violence survivor is isolation and silence. The abuser often succeeds in alienating the victim from friends and family, leaving them feeling utterly alone. Breaking free from the cycle of abuse is an incredibly daunting task. It requires immense courage, planning, and a network of resources.

Our community must play a crucial role in addressing Domestic Violence. We must create a culture where survivors are believed, supported, and empowered to take action. Familiarize yourself with organizations such as the Family Support Council which offers crucial support including shelters, counseling, legal advice, and more.  This community also has an extremely supportive Law enforcement and legal system and the Family Support Council is a bridge to assist cases of domestic violence sensitively and effectively. By spreading awareness about these resources, you can help victims access the help they need.

Above all, we need to challenge the stereotypes and stigmas that surround domestic violence. It is not just a private matter; it is the responsibility of our collective community. We need to Rise up together to embrace survivors, educate our community, and resource our shelter and programs.  Domestic Violence is happening, its up to you to keep the resources and supportive programs thriving should it happen to someone you know.

If you are interested in contributing to the shelter or the domestic violence program please contact Family Support Council at 775-782-8692.

Melissa Elges is a Family Support Council board member


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment