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Sandy Journal

Domestic Violence Awareness Week 'breaks the silence' in Sandy

Oct 03, 2019 12:50PM ● By Stephanie DeGraw

By Stephanie DeGraw | [email protected]

“Break the Silence” Domestic Violence Awareness Week begins Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. with a press conference at the Sandy Justice Court. There will be activities throughout the city until Oct. 19 to raise awareness during national Domestic Violence Month.

"There is a need to raise awareness and help break the silence and cycle of domestic violence," Jennifer Hamilton, family crimes and intervention coordinator and child advocate, said. "I encourage the community to participate. Our community partners and police department are looking forward to meeting with everyone and sharing information and resources."

Deputy Chief Greg Severson and Mayor Kurt Bradburn will deliver some remarks at the press conference. Bradburn will read and sign the proclamation that Sandy City recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The winner of the youth contest will be awarded. A survivor of domestic violence will also share their experiences to help others find their voice.

The Women's Safety Night will be Oct. 17 at Elite Performance Fitness at 9599 S. 500 West. It is free and open to women 14 years and up. "We want to provide a safe space where people can ask questions," Evan Keller, family crimes investigator, said. "We want to empower people."

The evening will cover how to prevent abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. The event will begin with yoga and meditation led by Danielle Pitcher from Wellness Alignment. Then a question-and-answer session will be provided by the Sandy City Family Crimes Investigator and Victim Advocates staff. There will be an in-depth self-defense class led by nationally renowned mixed martial artist and trainer Jeremy Horn.

"There are things we can teach people to watch out for," Keller said. "There may be patterns in someone's life that might open them up to be a victim. There are admirable traits that can be used against you by others. You may be kind and helpful, which is a wonderful trait, but it also happens to be something bad people could use to manipulate you."

Keller advises people to watch out for the indicators of someone who may be trying to dominate them. If their actions are taken to an extreme, the situation could become dangerous. He said to never self-blame and to set boundaries with other people.

For example, be on the lookout for people who continuously tear other people down. Does a person become too pushy for emotional and physical closeness too fast? Do they try to tear apart someone's support system? Be aware of how they treat children and animals. Often substance abuse can be tied to domestic violence situations. The abuser may use their substance abuse as an excuse for their behavior, he said.

The self-defense part of the evening will cover how to deal with a person that is bigger than you and provide safety tips. Keller noted that it's common to have domestic violence occur in the home, behind closed doors. Many domestic violence incidents do not get reported because they happen at home. If you suspect someone is in an abusive relationship and is in danger, please call the police department. You could be the person to make a difference in a victim's life and help to stop the cycle of abuse. The city also provides opportunities to volunteer to assist victims of crime. To RSVP to attend the Women's Safety Night, email [email protected]

Another key event is the Youth Informed Awareness program. The police department will work with Canyons School District to help raise awareness of domestic and dating violence. Brochures and age-appropriate information will be distributed throughout the schools.

Another program, “The Impact of Self-Care and Your General Health,” and will be Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Sandy City Hall City council chambers. Different ways to stay healthy through personal health, self-care, safety tips and mental well-being will be on display. Representatives will be on hand from the Sandy Police Department, Canyons School District, Intermountain Healthcare (IHC), Intermountain Therapy Animals, South Valley Services and Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic. Each agency will be available to answer questions and provide resources and information to the community.

On Oct. 18, the Sandy Police Department will have purple domestic violence ribbon stickers available for the public. An appreciation gift will be presented to police officers and city employees who work in helping to end domestic violence.

Some of the organizations that need donated items include South Valley Services and Intermountain Therapy Animals. A list of their urgent needs list can be found at svsutah.org/en/urgent-needs-list and www.therapyanimals.org. 

The Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-897-LINK.