ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It serves as a moment to shine a light on what often goes unnoticed and unreported. In Taylor County, the light is a bit brighter this week, with a proclaimed “Week of Action”.
“If you look to the north, over here, you’ll see 211 flags”, said Shawna Joiner, during the proclamation. “One for each life lost in Texas. One stands alone. We might not be able to do much in Houston or San Antonio or Dallas, but there is one that we lost.”
That solitary flag represents a life lost to domestic violence in Taylor County last year. As a survivor, Joiner cares deeply about each of those flags, and the lives they represent.
“It’s something that is hard for me, because as I see that flag, I know how close I came to being that flag”, Joiner said.
For some people, help never came because they didn’t know where to find it. There are resources, and they are highlighted during the month.
Janey Wawerna of Regional Victims Crisis Center says people can be blind to their options because they’re doing all they can just to live another day: “You’re focused on surviving in your relationship, in your home, keeping your children safe. So when we say, ‘Call for help’, sometimes they don’t know who to call for help.”
That means it could be you who needs to guide a friend to help. But that requires you to know there’s a problem. Another issue that keeps victims from help is visibility. Domestic violence oftentimes goes undetected.
The Noah Project’s Dan Cox said, “It may look like everything’s just wonderful in a family, but it’s not. Someone’s being hurt, someone’s afraid. The purpose of this month is to shine a light where it normally doesn’t shine and let people have an opportunity to see there really is danger out there.”