No one should have to struggle alone
No one should have to struggle alone

Susan Fenger

Executive Director,

Family Safety Network

Family Safety Network is joining agencies throughout the nation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. President Barack Obama initiated this year’s national observance with a proclamation reminding Americans that no victim of domestic violence should ever struggle alone.

Fortunately, domestic violence victims in Teton Valley are not alone. They can reach for help and confidential understanding at Family Safety Network or in the local hospital, schools, churches and salons. Together we are working in support of everyone’s right to live peacefully.

Local beauticians, clergy, school counselors, hospital nurses and mental health providers have been trained in the dynamics of domestic violence. They know how complicated domestic violence is. They recognize many victims fear for their lives, and that safety is a very real concern. They know how to help an adult, teen or child living with violence. 

According to the President’s Proclamation:

 “Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. 

“Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems.

High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.

“During this month we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented.

“We must build the capacity of our nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. And across America we urge victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE.

“Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone. I ask all Americans to do their part to end domestic violence in this country by supporting their community’s efforts to assist victims in finding the help and healing they need.”

Now is a good time to learn more about domestic violence and how to help a friend, family member, employee or patron. Family Safety Network offers domestic violence prevention and crisis intervention training for businesses, organizations and agencies. Our healthy relationship series continues this year at Teton High and Middle Schools, and at Basin High School. Our child sexual abuse training is available for parents and organizations interested in creating safe environments for children. Call us at (208) 354-8057 to arrange a learning opportunity and become a safe place for victims.

Today is a great day for Teton Valley victims to reach for help. Make an anonymous call to Family Safety Network’s 24-hour hotline at (208) 354-SAFE. Talk to your doctor, clergy, a school counselor or beautician. We are here ensuring local victims do not have to struggle alone. 

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