Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oregon Sig Eps Help Raise Awareness about Domestic Violence

Dozens hit the streets to raise awareness about domestic violence
By Michele Armand

EUGENE - Domestic violence is a serious problem that hits close to home in our community. It's estimated that there are 5,000 to 7,000 batterers living in Lane County.

Wednesday, dozens of citizens who wanted to see those numbers decrease, took to the streets with a serious message to stop the violence.

The event was part of Domestic Violence Awareness month.With purple balloons and signs in tow, demonstrators along Franklin Boulevard in Eugene have a mission, to highlight the problem of domestic violence and promote healthy relationships.

"We want them to know that it's an issue that effect everyone that is not just a specific population, that it's something that effects people from everywhere," said Carmen Hinckley of the University of Oregon's Women's Center.

The community demonstration took place in 28 locations across Lane County from Oakridge to Eugene/Springfield. But, while many people like these are raising awareness about domestic violence, a new study says programs designed to stop it can be ineffective and even worsen abusive situations.

Margo Schaefer with Womenspace, a non-profit that works to help victims of domestic violence and their families, says solutions aren't always easy and often depend on the individual.

"For many people, they apply for a restraining order the person is served and they go ballistic. Many apply for a restraining order and it absolutely puts the batterer in check so this is not a tool that works for everyone," said Schaefer.

But for those on the corner taking a stand against domestic violence, they say, they hope to provide an example that abuse is never acceptable.

"We wanted to get the word out that not all guys are going to batter and abuse women there's plenty of good guys out there and we're just trying to get the word out," said Patrick Burton of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Wednesday's community demonstration was organized by Womenspace. If you are a victim of domestic violence you can call their hotline for help at (541) 485-6513

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first observed in 1987.

Dozens hit the streets to raise awareness about domestic violence