Town invited to put the purple on
The Family Crisis Center is inviting the community to join its observance of the ninth-annual “Turn Our Town Purple” event Thursday, Oct. 21. The event is part of the center’s marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, said FCC Family Advocacy Coordinator Jamie Fager.
“We want people to wear their favorite purple shirt, decorate their office in purple, or shine a purple light to show your commitment to be part of the equation,” she said.
“Take a picture and post it to facebook.com/FamilyCrisisCenter,” she said. “Or email your pictures and we’ll post them.” The email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is being held in conjunction with National Network to End Domestic Violence’s #PurpleThursday.
For more information call the center, 620-792-1885, or visit familycrisiscntr.org online.
Domestic violence is a preventable public health problem, Family Crisis Center Family Advocacy Coordinator Jamie Fager told the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning. To call attention to this tragedy, the commission approved a proclamation marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“It is important that measures be taken to provide domestic violence victims services as about one-quarter of the homicides in Kansas are perpetrated by current or former intimate partners,” she said.
“Family and relationships are often counted among life’s greatest blessings, and tragically, many Kansans’ relationships are tarnished by violence and fear,” she said. “The crime of domestic violence violates an individual’s privacy, dignity, security and humanity, due to the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, economic and coercive control or abuse.”
By the numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. “This translates into 12 million people nationally and approximately 557,275 Kansas, or 20% of the state’s population,” Fager said.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that intimate partner homicides comprise 14% percent of all homicides in the United States and women are twice as likely as men to be killed by an intimate partner. And, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation reports that 25.4% of all homicides in Kansas in 2019 were related to domestic violence.
Further, in Kansas in 2019, one domestic violence murder occurred every 11 days, one hour and 27 minutes. In that same year in the state, one domestic violence incident was reported to law enforcement every 23 minutes, 25 seconds.
Closer to home, in 2020, the Family Crisis Center Inc.’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Center answered 1,678 crisis calls, sheltered 33 women, men and children, and worked with 365 domestic violence survivors, Fager said.
“As this violence is inconsistent with the values of our community, it will not be excused or tolerated,” she said. “We, as a community, must learn about domestic violence and the impact on survivors, families and the community as a whole.”
In declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, “we encourage all citizens to speak out against domestic violence, to provide support for survivors of these crimes, to encourage community leaders to hold perpetrators accountable, and to make domestic violence prevention efforts a priority by hosting events, by creating policies at school and work, and by working with Family Crisis Center Inc.’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Center,” the proclamation reads.
The COVID impact
With quarantines and more people forced to stay at home due to COVID-19, Barton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. David Paden said the number of domestic calls did go up in 2020. This was especially the case when alcohol was involved.
This was difficult for the Crisis Center to quantify, Fager said. They are still displaced from their 1924 Broadway Ave. location after the air conditioning unit crashed through the ceiling in June of this year, forcing them to move to a temporary location.
“Our walk-in traffic is down,” she said. That is because many just don’t know where they are.
But, she said they are close to finishing the repairs on Broadway so they can return.
A necessary service
“I just want to thank you guys for what you do. It is hard work,” said District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld, whose cousin’s daughter was killed by her boyfriend. “You don’t think about it much until it touches to home. I so appreciate what you do.”
“Those of us who have been around Barton County in law enforcement for a long time when the Family Crisis Center started know it was needed then,” said Chairman Jim Daily, District 4, who is a former Barton County sheriff. And, “it is definitely needed now.”
The center covers Barber, Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush and Stafford counties. The Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center housed in the Family Crisis Center covers Barton, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford counties.