Nikki Graves, Victim Advocate for CARE of Atchison County, Inc. stands with 151 pinwheels that represent local victims of domestic violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the pinwheel display set up by CARE of Atchison County can be found at State Farm Insurance in Rock Port. Each pinwheel represents a victim of domestic violence that CARE worked with in 2020. There are 151 pinwheels, that is 151 people in our community that have been a victim of domestic violence. CARE also received 153 hotline calls related to domestic violence or sexual assault.

Many people never come forward out of fear of judgement, fear of losing custody of their children, and the danger that comes with leaving a domestic violence relationship. When a person leaves an abusive relationship and starts to take their power back, that triggers the abuser to up the ante and increase coercive control, violence, and threats. If the abuser is otherwise well respected or mild mannered, the victim’s concerns can sometimes not be taken seriously. Often the abuser is violent only with the victim and is very good at manipulating others to think there is something wrong with the victim. You never know what battles people are facing, so be kind.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior. These behaviors are part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. Domestic violence is found in every culture and socioeconomic class and influenced by institutional and societal responses. It can include physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, cyber abuse, financial abuse, threats, gaslighting, and emotional abuse. Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen in all types of relationships, whether dating, committed, same-sex, or heterosexual relationships. It can happen to teens and elders. Children are also impacted by domestic violence in the home. CARE is always available to assist victims of domestic violence so please call the 24-hour hotline at 660-744-7233.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is about spreading awareness for the survivors in our community. It is important to support survivors no matter what their situation, encourage them to talk to people that can offer help and guidance, and assist them in finding a way to safety. CARE is very grateful to those who have donated and shown their support over the year. It is greatly appreciated by all they serve, because CARE would not be possible without the support of our community.