OSWEGO, NY – Estimates show that every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is beaten or assaulted and about half of all homeless women are homeless because of domestic violence.
Domestic violence impacts countless individuals, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability, or economic status.
As victims suffer at the hands of a spouse, intimate partner, or family member, it affects their children, families, and entire communities.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Oswego County Opportunities Services to Aid Families program is the domestic violence and rape crisis program serving Oswego County.
With the help of its community partners, SAF is working to raise awareness of the increased risks and rates of abuse that under-served populations face and help those individuals overcome the unique barriers to seeking help and support.
In 2015, SAF served almost 600 victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. 25% of the individuals SAF served had a disability and a growing number are elderly.
Individuals with disabilities experience some of the highest rates of physical, sexual, and emotional violence at the hands of an intimate partner or family member.
Estimates show that 1 in 10 older adults living in their homes experience elder abuse each year and it often goes unreported.
According to a New York State study on elder abuse, for every 1 older adult who reports abuse in the Central New York area, 35 other cases go undocumented.
Additionally, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are more likely to experience abuse in their relationships, in their home and in their community.
“Physical marks are often the most obvious signs of the harm caused by domestic violence,” said SAF community response coordinator Stacie France. “But the true extent of the pain goes much deeper. And it takes a coordinated effort by all corners of our community – law enforcement, advocates, community groups, schools, and health care workers – to combat this epidemic. SAF is proud to partner with various local agencies and institutions to bring attention to domestic violence in our community and to show victims and survivors that they are not forgotten.”
Once again, SAF will have its Silent Witness and Survivor Flag Display located in the city of Oswego along East First Street between East Oneida and East Mohawk streets.
The flag display will also be showcased on the SUNY Oswego campus and outside the Oswego County Office of the Aging.
The red figures in the display represent individuals who have lost their lives from domestic violence and those that suffer in silence.
The purple flags represent the 590 survivors of abuse and assault that SAF served in 2015.
“A special flag display created by consumers will be located at the ARISE office building on Fourth Avenue in Oswego to highlight rates of domestic violence among individuals with disabilities,” added France.
As part of New York State’s Shine the Light campaign, the exterior of Oswego City Hall and OCO’s office building in Fulton will be lit purple for the entire month of October.
Additionally, exterior signage at the main entrance to SUNY Oswego’s campus will also be lit purple.
SAF’s local Shine the Light campaign will connect our communities with others across the state by turning New York purple – the symbolic color of domestic violence awareness.
Other events to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month include proclamations by the Oswego County Legislature and Oswego City Mayor William Barlow.
The Oswego Police Department will have purple ribbon decals on its patrol vehicles to show support in ending domestic violence.
Additionally, a number of local pizza shops will use special pizza box toppers to help raise awareness.
Finally, community members are invited to take part in National Wear Purple Day on October 20.
“Wear something purple and post your pictures on social media using the hashtags #OswegoWearsPurple, #ShinetheLight, #WearPurpleNYS, and #PurpleThursday and help us flood social media with purple!” said SAF educator / advocate Sara Gozzi.
“This month, let us once again pledge our unwavering support to those in need and recognize the victim service providers and organizations who work tirelessly to create a coordinated community response to domestic violence and extend hope and healing to victims and survivors every day,” France said. “Please join us in saying NO MORE to domestic violence this October and every day.”
If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking, please call the SAF Crisis Hotline at (315) 342-1600.
The hotline is available 24 hours a day and is free and confidential.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.
To learn more about OCO’s past, present and future, visit www.oco.org.