City of Stuart, Martin County hopes to raise awareness about domestic violence on the Treasure Coast
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- It all started with one day in 1981 known as the "Day of Unity." That day became a nationally designated awareness month by Congress in 1989, and this year, officials from the city of Stuart and Martin County are recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October here on the Treasure Coast.
SafeSpace is a local nonprofit and the only certified domestic violence outreach center on the Treasure Coast.
Jill Borowicz, SafeSpace's CEO, reported that there were 541 incidents of domestic violence, seven forcible domestic violence rapes and two domestic violence murders over the last year in Martin County. She added that when it comes to domestic violence, it's estimated that only 50 percent of incidents are ever reported, so these numbers may actually be much higher in our communities.
Nationally, champions of the effort to end domestic violence join together every October with health care providers, business leaders, policy makers, faith-based groups, college students and others at events and activities designed to educate the public about domestic and sexual violence.
Locally, there are many opportunities for the community to take a stand against domestic violence by partnering with SafeSpace.
The saying that you can't understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes comes to life each year when SafeSpace hosts its "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" events across the Treasure Coast. The events ask men to walk one mile in four-inch high-heeled shoes, and while most men quickly realize it's not easy walking in those shoes, it's a light-hearted way to get the community talking about something that's otherwise difficult to talk about: domestic violence.
The walks, which raise funds and awareness to support outreach programs and services for victims of domestic violence, will be held in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties on Oct. 5, 12, and 26 respectively.
Registration for the walks as individuals or as teams is available at www.safespacefl.org.
Ms. Borowicz is accepting the proclamations from the government agencies with a charge to the community.
"Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It could be happening right now to a family member, a friend or a neighbor," she said. "SafeSpace can help, but it needs the community's assistance to meet its mission. Please come out and walk or cheer on the good men of Martin County while they stand up against domestic violence at our Walk A Mile In Her Shoes on Oct. 5."
For more information, visit www.safespacefl.org, call (772) 223-2399 or connect with SafeSpace on Facebook at www.facebook.com/safespacefl.