October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The Crisis Center of West Texas and Safe Place of the Permian Basin will co-host a kick-off event Oct. 2 to unite the community for a common cause. The event will take place at the Ector County Courthouse and launch the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The nonprofit organizations plan to raise awareness for the issue’s widespread occurrence and the services available locally for those affected by domestic or sexual violence.
Featured speakers listed for the event include State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, Ector County Judge Debi Hayes, 446th District Judge Sara Kate Billingsley, Sheriff Mike Griffis and Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke.
Lauren Thompson, Crisis Center of West Texas Client Services Director, said the kick-off gives the public “an opportunity to view leaders throughout the community come together, speak out against domestic violence and reiterate their commitment to ending violence in our community.”
Debra Miller, a mother that lost her daughter, Kelsi Miller, in October of 2010 to domestic violence, will also speak at the event.
“At the end of the event we’re having a balloon release to honor all lives affected by domestic violence, but especially to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Kelsi Miller’s death,” Thompson said. “I think Kelsi Miller’s death and the subsequent deaths we have had in the community due to domestic violence will always open our eyes to the issue and just how big of a problem it is.”
Thompson said there is a need for the community to work together to end this problem.
“We have to work harder to make sure that we are educating the community as to what domestic violence is and how to pick up on those red flags, pick up on those warning signs, so that if it is happening to you or someone that you know, you’re able to get the help needed,” Thompson said. “Domestic violence and sexual assault affect people of all backgrounds. It really is an issue that does not discriminate, and we work really hard to make sure that we are making our services easily accessible for people of all walks of life.”