On Oct. 1, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle declared the month of October would be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to the mayor’s proclamation, the month is to encourage residents to “show support for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and to work toward a future when all people can feel safe in their relationships and their homes.”
Lavelle said she feels it is her duty to use her position as mayor to publicize causes, such as domestic violence awareness, through proclamations.
“I have found during my years in office that it’s a really good vehicle for publicizing or advertising certain really important causes,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle said when she highlights a particular cause, she likes to provide local resources to the residents.
“When I highlight some kind of a cause or issue, I always like to talk about a local provider that reaches out and supports the community,” Lavelle said.
One of these providers is the Compass Center for Women and Families. This center provides a variety of services and programs, such as financial literacy education, adolescent empowerment programs and domestic violence crisis counseling.
According to the Compass Center’s website, their domestic violence crisis counseling is a way to “work with women and men who are experiencing or have experienced emotional, verbal, physical, sexual or other forms of abuse.”
Lavelle said it is important to talk about issues that tend to be hidden or unspoken.
“Even though it’s kind of a hidden issue, or an unspoken issue, it’s unfortunately more common than we think it is,” Lavelle said.
Damon Seils, a Board of Aldermen member, said it is important to highlight domestic violence awareness because it can serve as an influential message to people.
“Having an opportunity during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to highlight those numbers can, in itself, be a powerful message for people to understand how deep the problem goes,” Seils said.
Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney voiced similar support for the proclamation.
“If we can educate one person to recognize the signs of domestic violence, then we’ve really made a big impact,” Chaney said. “It just takes one to help a person get the help that they need.”
Lavelle said an important aspect of this month is to encourage residents to stand with survivors of domestic violence and show support.
“We absolutely stand 100 percent behind survivors of domestic violence,” she said. “We recognize how hard it is for folks to escape that trap.”
Lavelle also emphasized recognizing that any type of relationship can be subject to domestic violence.
“We also recognize that there are all kinds of forms of relationships that can result in domestic violence,” Lavelle said. “(We recognize) anyone who finds themselves in some kind of a situation where they are suffering from domestic violence, regardless of their relationship status with their partner or significant other.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
Compass Center for Women and Families’ Domestic Violence Services: (919)-929-7122
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