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Athens offers support to survivors of domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it is an opportunity for people to educate themselves on the signs of domestic violence as well as how to seek help. The City of Athens seeks to provide survivors with support and resources. 

Domestic violence affects more than 12 million people every year. That includes being a survivor of intimate partner violence, being stalked by an intimate partner and experiencing sexual violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes domestic violence as “a pattern of behavior of a partner that is used to maintain power and control over another partner.” 

Taylor Ebert, a survivor advocate of the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program, said there are certain signs to look for in a relationship if abuse is suspected. 

“Definitely if that person seems isolated,” said Ebert. “That is a very common thing with domestic violence, the abuser will isolate them from friends and family.”

In Athens, there are multiple resources for people to learn more about the subject and for survivors to find support.

For students at OU, both the Women’s Center and Survivor Advocacy Program offer services and support for people who have experienced domestic violence. 

The Women’s Center offers a wide range of programs and events to help support women in any way possible.

“Our focus is on gender equity, education, advocacy and support,” said Chris Fowler, the director of the Women’s Center. 

Though its focus is not solely on domestic violence, it will partner with the Survivor Advocacy Program and host events like the upcoming event “What Were You Wearing?” in November.

The Survivor Advocacy Program is another resource for anyone who has experienced domestic violence or knows someone who has. 

It is a free and completely confidential resource for OU students. Its staff consists of licensed social workers who provide support and resources for survivors and co-survivors, who are people who know a survivor. It provides many different services to help survivors get access to the resources they need.

“We provide individual advocacy services,” Ebert said. “We can provide courtroom advocacy, we walk people through the legal process. We also provide medical advocacy, and we can send an advocate with someone who experienced sexual assault to help them through the hospital process.”

An appointment can be scheduled with an advocate on the Survivor Advocacy Program’s website or it can be reached through its hotline at 740-597-7233

There are also services that are offered in Athens that are separate from the university like My Sister’s Place, a domestic abuse support agency.

It offers a wide variety of services for anyone who is a survivor.

“We have an emergency shelter for any victim of domestic violence,” said Kelly Madewell, the executive director. “We have a 24/7 hotline, outreach counseling, case management and transitional housing.”

The best way to get in contact with My Sister’s Place is to call its hotline at 1-800-443-3402.

My Sister’s Place also offers an animal shelter program called My Sister’s Paws, a resource for people to use to house their pets while they are staying at the emergency shelters. 

It is important to remember that anyone can try to do their part to combat domestic violence just by checking in with their friends.

“Asking (a friend) ‘How are you?’ and ‘How are you really?’ and just being patient,” said Letitia Price, the assistant director of the Women’s Center. “So it's good to just allow people to feel comfortable.”


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