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OCO’s SAF Program Invites Community to Participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month Activities

OSWEGO, NY – In the wake of the NFL’s Ray Rice Scandal, domestic violence has taken a front seat in our national dialogue. It’s discussed on cable news shows, there are hashtag campaigns, such as #whyIstayed, on social media, and it’s talked about and debated at the workplace water cooler.

Elected officials from the village of Hannibal join staff of Oswego County Opportunities Service to Aid Families Program in recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month. SAF has placed a Silent Witness/Survivor Flag Display along Route 3 in the village of Hannibal. The red woman is part of the national Silent Witness Project that pays tribute to all of the women that have died from domestic violence and those that are living in silence. The 758 purple flags symbolize the 758 survivors that received services from SAF in 2013. Kneeling from left are SAF Educator, Sara Gozzi and DV/CPS Advocate Kari Kranz. Standing from left are Victim Services Program Manager Stacie France, Hannibal Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf, Mayor of the Village of Hannibal Fred Kent, SAF Educator Megan Bittel and Hannibal High School STEP Advocate, Jamie Drake.
Elected officials from the village of Hannibal join staff of Oswego County Opportunities Service to Aid Families Program in recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month. SAF has placed a Silent Witness/Survivor Flag Display along Route 3 in the village of Hannibal. The red woman is part of the national Silent Witness Project that pays tribute to all of the women that have died from domestic violence and those that are living in silence. The 758 purple flags symbolize the 758 survivors that received services from SAF in 2013. Kneeling from left are SAF Educator, Sara Gozzi and DV/CPS Advocate Kari Kranz. Standing from left are Victim Services Program Manager Stacie France, Hannibal Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf, Mayor of the Village of Hannibal Fred Kent, SAF Educator Megan Bittel and Hannibal High School STEP Advocate, Jamie Drake.

How fitting then that this national discussion is taking place at a time when communities throughout the country annually come together to raise awareness of this important topic.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families program is the domestic violence and rape crisis program that serves Oswego County.  The goal of SAF is to raise awareness of the epidemic of domestic violence in Oswego country and to educate individuals on the impact of domestic violence in its communities.

“Nobody is immune to domestic violence, but women are particularly at-risk,” said SAF Educator / Trainer Sara Gozzi.  “It is estimated that 1 in 4 women in the US will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To give this statistic some perspective, it is estimated that 1 in 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. In addition, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury among women. It costs the US more than $8 billion dollars a year in medical costs and lost productivity.”

Many people are energized about the topic of domestic violence as a result of powerful events and stories that have played out across their television and computer screens.  “Now is the time to put that energy to work. SAF will be holding a number of events and awareness activities throughout October that we encourage the public to take part in,” said Gozzi.

As part of New York State’s annual “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” campaign locations around Oswego County will be lit purple – the color that symbolizes domestic violence awareness.

“Purple lights will be shining at Bullhead Point, along Lake Neatahwanta, in the city of Fulton. Cayuga Community College’s Fulton campus will also be going purple in an effort to raise awareness. Look closely as you’re driving along 481 into the city of Fulton and you may even see the purple lights and giant banner and ribbons in their window. In addition, the West Pierhead Lighthouse in Oswego Harbor will be shining purple throughout the month as a reminder that domestic violence affects every community and everyone plays a role in ending domestic violence,” said Gozzi.

Once again, SAF’s Silent Witness and Survivor Flag Display will be traveling throughout the county in recognition of the victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The display will be located in the village of Central Square outside the First Universalist Church along 49, at the village square in Hannibal along Route 3, and outside of Oswego County’s Department of Social Services in the village of Mexico, where it can be seen from Route 3. The red figures in this display represent women who have lost their lives from domestic violence and those that suffer in silence. The purple flags represent the 758 survivors of abuse and assault that SAF served in 2013.

Gozzi added that a number of local pizzerias have collaborated with SAF to raise awareness of domestic violence using pizza box toppers.

Those ordering pizza during the month of October may notice a special message attached to their pizza box.

SAF is also receiving support from local government as Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward and Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen, on October 7 and 14, respectively and Oswego County Legislative Chairman Kevin Gardner on October 9 at the County Office Building will present proclamations announcing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Oswego County.

“We encourage community members to learn more about the impact of domestic violence and support these efforts by visiting one of the public displays or attending a proclamation,” Gozzi said. “Community members can also make a statement by participating in New York State’s Wear Purple Day on October 15. Please join us in saying no more to domestic violence this October and every day. Shine a light on this epidemic and bring it out of the darkness. Victims should no longer suffer in isolation and silence. As a community we can work together to say no more!”

If you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking, please call the Crisis Hotline at (315) 342-1600.

The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours. 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.

OCO, Inc. is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.  For more information, visit www.oco.org

This project was supported by Grant No. 2010-WR-AX-0016 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.