Tonawanda News

Features

October 15, 2012

YWCA sheds light on services for Domestic Violence Awareness month

Tonawanda News — October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the YWCA of the Tonawandas is hoping to light up the city purple to raise awareness of this issue, which affects hundreds of women in the Twin Cities each year, if not more.

Deborah Schnitzer, domestic violence team coordinator at the YWCA, said the organization is shining purple spotlights on its Tremont Street headquarters to provide awareness of the services it offers. 

“We’re going to light us up purple,” she said. “We’re going to try to encourage the community to shine a light on domestic violence and maybe put some purple lights up on their houses.”

“We’re hoping people will realize there is domestic violence in our community and there are options for women. One of the things we do here is we confront domestic violence on all fronts.”

Those options include a weekly women’s support group for victims of domestic violence, one-on-one counseling, the KidStrong program, which provides support for children in domestic violence situations, and advocacy efforts in the courts and with politicians. 

Key to all this is education and letting women — and some men — know the YWCA can help those who may not even realize they are in a domestic violence relationship.

“Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. It’s verbal, it’s emotional, it’s psychological, it’s financial, it’s sexual ... there’s a broad range of abuses that happen with domestic violence. It’s a coercive pattern of power and control,” Schnitzer said.

Renee Hickey said she was one of those women who didn’t realize she was in one of those bad situations. A troubled relationship with her boyfriend ended with his arrest in October 2008 and she said she initially only used the services of the YWCA to help keep him from getting in trouble upon advice from then-assistant district attorney Caroline Wojtaszek.

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