Sandra Marr, above, read the perspective of a poem she wrote from a mother to her son at C.A.R.E.’s Candlelight Vigil.  Each year, C.A.R.E. hosts the vigil in re­cog­nition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to show support to the victims of domestic violence.

C.A.R.E. Advocate Teresa Morehouse speaks to the attendees of the Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, October 4, at the Atchison County Courthouse in Rock Port.

C.A.R.E. Advocate Nikki Graves read the poem “We Have A Choice” at the 10th annual C.A.R.E. Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Atchison County South District Commissioner Richard Burke reads a proclamation re­cog­nizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 

C.A.R.E. of Atchison County, Inc., as part of a national movement to prevent and end domestic violence in Atchison County, recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Atchison County C.A.R.E hosted their 10th annual candlelight vigil Wednesday, October 4, 2017.  Just before 6 p.m. approximately 20 people of different age groups gathered on the front steps of the east side of the Atchison County Courthouse in Rock Port Missouri. The vigil was an effort to increase local awareness of domestic violence.
A vigil such as this improves community involvement in helping victims of domestic violence by making others aware of what happens on a day to day basis and where they can seek help if needed. Information was heard by attendees about various domestic violence statistics that occur in Missouri while Sandra Marr read a poem she wrote from a mom to her son.
Dear Son,
I want to tell you that I love you,
You own my heart, that will never change.
So what I’m about to tell you,
May seem a little more than strange.
I’m proud to see the man you’ve become.
Working hard to maintain control.
But when you let that anger out,
It begins to eat your soul.

I know you watched your father
As he man-handled me.
I know you heard the names he yelled,
Pure obscenity.
I know that there were good days,
You and your dad had fun.
But when he was mad, the room was cleared,
And all the fun was done.

Don’t follow in his footsteps,
Don’t do what he has done.
You have a beautiful lady,
Treat her special, my precious son.
Don’t tear her heart, don’t make her cry,
That does not feel like love.
Treat her as she truly is,
A sacred gift from God above.

Don’t raise your fist to hit her.
Don’t ever call her vulgar names.
Don’t ever make the threats you heard.
Don’t play those nasty games.
Love will grow and love will bloom,
If you maintain your self-control.
Think things through and talk to her,
That should be your goal.

For as you see me and your father
Have gone our separate ways.
I couldn’t stay there with him,
I had to get away.
My heart was being broken,
My spirit beaten down.
I didn’t know what else to do.
I had to move to another town.

I know it made you angry,
When our divorce went thru.
But he wasn’t willing to make a change,
There was nothing I could do.
I couldn’t make him understand,
That he was hurting more than me.
So please, don’t follow in his footsteps,
Live your life in love, so peacefully.

Love,
Mom

Written by: Sandra Marr

“Domestic violence happens in all communities – including ours. The good news is that Missouri women, children and men victimized by domestic violence have more access to help and protection than they have ever had before,” said Teresa Morehouse, Victim Advocate. “By working together, we can offer hope and safety to those in need, to ensure that every abused person in Missouri receives the life-saving services and resources provided by dedicated advocates in domestic violence programs throughout our state, in every community.”
According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV), more than 38,000 survivors of domestic violence were helped last year by programs through times of crisis, emergency and danger. MCADSV reports that during a single day in 2016, more than 2,100 domestic violence victims and their children sought help and safety from domestic violence programs because of the violence in their homes.
Teresa Morehouse, Victim Advocate at C.A.R.E of Atchison County, Inc., stated that in 2016 the C.A.R.E. advocates and volunteers provided 150 non-duplicated crisis intervention services; 1,963 support services which include case managements, emergency legal and/or medical advocacy, answering the crisis hotline, facilitating support groups, information and referral services, and provided 352 hours of counseling services by licensed professional counselors to victims who found themselves dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault or other violent crime while in or going through Atchison County, Missouri.
Outreach initiatives must continue because many adults, youth and children are still in need of shelter and services. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to advance prevention and awareness efforts in Missouri.
October is a time for all Americans to recognize and join in the life-changing work that supports and empowers survivors of domestic abuse. Together we can mitigate the costs of these crimes on our society by supporting local services, promoting laws, policies and programs that improve services, hold offenders accountable, and increase prevention education to prevent violence from occurring in our homes and communities.
During the past three decades, Missouri has made significant advancements in securing rights, protections and services for victims of domestic violence. Lawmakers and domestic violence advocates have worked together to strengthen legal protections for victims, enhance penalties for offenders, establish Orders of Protection with criminal penalties for violations, obtain funding for domestic violence services and shelters, ensure confidentiality for the safety and dignity of victims, and strengthen child welfare laws to protect abused parents and their children.
This month in particular, we have a special opportunity to make sure that every member of our community – survivors and their families, advocates, law enforcement officers, the courts, and all Missourians – have the tools, resources, information and support to prevent and end domestic violence.
To help make a difference for survivors, contact C.A.R.E. of Atchison County, Inc., Teresa or Nikki, Victim Advocates, at 660-744-9966.