Turning Point will host two Light the Night events this month. The candlelight vigils have been planned for Star Valley and Kemmerer.
“The purpose of the candlelight vigil is to raise awareness of domestic violence and the women from our community that have lost their lives due to or in part of domestic violence,” said Turning Point Executive Director Kiley Taggart. “Domestic Violence is often a silent crime. If we can come together as a community to acknowledge those that have suffered the greatest sacrifice, maybe that unity and collective voice will offer support to victims that are suffering in silence.”
According to Taggart, the vigils are being held in conjunction with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and are taking place to remember “all victims who have lost their lives to domestic violence.”
Wednesday, October 23 Light the Night participants will gather at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Thayne at 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 24 Light the Nigh attendees will gather at the Kemmerer Triangle Park at 6 p.m.
The group will specifically honor Sabrina DeWitt, Kelly Davidson and Joann Hakes.
“Domestic violence knows no prejudice it affects women, men and children in every community around the globe,” said Taggart. “I am often asked ‘is domestic violence really an issue in Lincoln County?’ and most are stunned when given the numbers.”
“The Turning Point has served over 28 victims in our community in the last 30 days,” Taggart said. “Those numbers do not count the many other victims that are still suffering in silence.”
“We are working with a wide range of different types of violence in our community, but Turning Point has been emphasizing trainings and education on strangulation,” Taggart continued. “Strangulation is one of the most deadly forms of domestic violence.”
According to Taggart, research shows that strangulation is “one of the best predictors for the subsequent homicide of victims of domestic violence.”
One study showed that “the odds of becoming an attempted homicide increased by about seven-fold for women who had been strangled by their partner” (Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2008).
“Victims may have no visible injuries whatsoever, yet because of underlying brain damage due to the lack of oxygen during the strangulation assault, they may have serious internal injuries or die days, even weeks later,” Taggart said.
According to Turning Point, some red flags and warning signs of a violent intimate partner relationship may be:
• extreme jealousy
• A bad temper
• Cruelty to animals
• Verbal abuse
• Extremely controlling behavior
• Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
• Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
• Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
• Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
• Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
• Controls all the finances
• Abuse of other family members, children or pets
• Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
• Control of what the victim wears and how they act
• Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
• Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
• Harassment of the victim at work.
According to Taggart, there are a number of ways community members can get involved and help reduce domestic violence occurrences in Lincoln County.
“Our community can become in involved or help by standing up and speaking out against domestic violence,” she said. “If you see something say something. If you are worried that someone you know may be in a violent relationship offer them support and let them know there are options. To often victims are silenced by isolation not knowing that they have options or organizations like The Turning Point to help with safety planning, housing, protection orders, support, legal advocacy, and emergency financial assistance.”
“Education also plays a huge part in prevention,” Taggart said. “One big social norm is to ask ‘why the victim doesn’t leave?’ but the question we need to be asking is ‘why is the offender committing domestic battery.’ With education the silence is broken and the shift of accountability can be directed towards the offender.”
According to Taggart, community members can also get involved by choosing to volunteer.
The Turning Point offers confidential and free services 24/7 to victims of domestic violence. Contact them at 307-877-6834 or 307-885-9072.
For more information call or visit Turning Point at turningpointlincolncounty.org.