People passing by the courthouse in Madisonville around noontime Friday would know the county is helping observe the month. As Crystal Russell said, the county mayor’s office allowed trees to be decorated to call attention to the observance.
Russell is project director of STOPe (Standing Together Offering Protection and Encouragement). The organization is one of five entities of the Monroe County Health Council, she mentioned.
The large purple ‘teardrop’ ornaments placed on the courthouse lawn trees represent the different cases of domestic abuse brought to county courts in 2011. Smaller pink and blue are representative of children associated with cases where orders of protection were issued. Russell said there were 258 such cases in 2011.
Helping Russell Friday were Jeremiah Underwood of the county mayor’s office; Brad Bivens, Connie Raper, Henrietta Jones of the county maintenance department; David Brown of Madisonville; and others.
“Awareness allows us to focus on education and prevention,” Crystal Russell said. “We want people to know of the prevalence of domestic violence here. We want them to understand how bad it is.”
Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As the coalition’s web site states, the intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun.
Project STOPe is located at 110 Locust Street in Madisonville. Anyone wishing to help with observance by receiving bows, ribbons, or other items may contact Crystal Russell at 519-1232. If there is a domestic emergency, persons may call the hotline, she added, at 1-800-356-6767.