This month, local advocacy group Wild Iris will be undertaking its annual crusade to educate the community about domestic violence. Known nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October in Inyo County will be dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of domestic violence with a poster campaign at local eateries and bars, a traveling exhibition, presentations to local schools, fundraisers and an all-day symposium with nationally renown specialists and speakers. This year’s theme is “Transformation: From Victim to Survivor.”
There are events planned all month long with the climax being an all day Domestic Violence Symposium on Thursday, Oct. 13. “An Empty Space at the Table” speakers will include Sarah Buel and Mike Agnew.
The kick-off was Friday at the Northern Inyo Hospital Cafeteria with a silhouette display. Wild Iris initiated a month-long observance of the occasion by placing the exhibit in the first of five locations around Bishop. The silhouette display pays tribute to the transformation from a victim of domestic violence to a survivor. The first host for this powerful testimony will be NIH through Oct. 10, after which the silhouettes will travel through Bishop on the following schedule:
• Main Street Barber from Oct. 10- 17
• Spellbinder Books from Oct. 17-24
• Studio 27 from Oct. 24-Nov. 1
• Valley Florist from Nov. 1-7
“These silhouettes were created to demonstrate the exceptional and courageous transformation from a victim of domestic violence to a survivor,” according to a press release from Wild Iris. “This life-size exhibit demonstrates the daily experiences of a victim, and the possibilities of hope and renewal that comes through the support of their community. This display is an effort to bring awareness that by working together to end abuse, we can create a community of hope.”
Wild Iris has also supplied some telling statistics.
“One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
“The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services,” the press release continues. “With this knowledge, it becomes abundantly clear that as a community, we must work together to end domestic violence.”
Wild Iris said in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, it received 226 domestic violence related hotline calls, provided 121 bed nights to victims of domestic violence and their children, and helped 42 families establish new homes because they were displaced due to domestic violence.
“October’s campaign will focus on domestic violence being a prevalent and dangerous issue within our community, but together we can start to make a difference,” the press release states.
In addition to the silhouettes, Wild Iris’ events and activities planned throughout October include:
• Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. – Fundraiser at the Methodist Church/Fashion Show
• Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. – Inyo County Board of Supervisors DVAM Proclamation
• Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. – Mammoth Lakes Town Council DVAM Proclamation
• Oct. 8 at 10 a.m – Booth at the Kmart Health Fair
• Oct. 8 at 10 a.m – Booth at the Lone Pine Film Festival
• Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. – Bishop City Council and Inyo County DVAM Proclamation
• Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. - Mono County Supervisors DVAM Proclamation
• Oct. 12 – Presentation to Mammoth Lakes Women’s Club
• Oct. 13 starting at 8:30 a.m – Domestic Violence Symposium at the Charles Brown Auditorium at the Tri-County Fairgrounds; “An Empty Space at the Table” with speakers, Sarah Buel and Mike Agnew
• Oct. 15 Youth Football Association and Cheerleaders Association will be in purple ribbons/athletic tape
• Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. Fundraiser at the Sierra Nevada Lodge/Tupperware sale
There will be an ongoing poster campaign throughout local bars, restaurants, coffee shops and bulletin boards; DVAM banners; and wearing of purple ribbons, the official domestic violence awareness symbol.
Wild Iris, a community-based non-profit agency, is committed to promoting, providing and sustaining programs of education and prevention, crisis intervention, advocacy and support for those affected by domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Wild Iris’ vision is for non-violent relationships based on dignity, respect, compassion and equality.
For additional information contact Misti Clark-Holt, Domestic Violence Program coordinator, at (760) 873-6601.