Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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October 3, 2012

Shelter educates public about domestic abuse

CENTERVILLE — An advocate from the local women's shelter is helping to raise awareness about domestic abuse in Centerville during October, which has been declared Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.

The Crisis Center and Women's Shelter in Ottumwa provides safe, temporary housing for battered and sexually abused or homeless women and their children. They shelter an average of 400 people each year and also take more than 1,000 calls on their 24-hour crisis line. The shelter currently has staff in Wapello, Appanoose, Jefferson, Monroe, Wayne and Davis counties.

Linda Handling, the Monroe and Appanoose County advocate for victims of domestic assault and sexual assault was on hand when Centerville Mayor Jim Senior signed a proclamation declaring October Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. She also passed out purple ribbons and nail files with contact info for the shelter.

The Crisis Center and Women's Shelter was founded in 1979 by a group of concerned citizens. It was originally called the Adult Life/Family Crisis Center. The mission of the shelter is to provide emergency shelter and services for survivors of domestic or sexual violence and to promote a violence free society through community education and advocacy.

All services provided by the organization are free, but donations are appreciated.

According to information from the shelter:

$25 provides personal care items for one family

$50 provides shelter for one person for one night

$100 provides food for one family for one week

$800 will pay shelter utility bills for one month

The shelter also provided some sobering statistics about sexual assault and domestic violence

Facts about sexual assault:

1 woman in 3 will be raped in her lifetime

83 percent of all rapes are perpetrated by someone known by the victim

50 percent of rapes occur in women's homes

70 percent of all rapes are planned

1 rape is committed every 40 seconds

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18

Facts about domestic abuse:

Six million women are battered each year

Every 15 seconds an American woman seeks emergency medical  care because of injuries received in a beating

10 women die each day as a result of battering

When leaving a battering relationship, women are at 75 percent increased risk of death

Battering causes more injuries to women, exceeding combined injuries from rapes, assaults and auto accidents

There are three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for women and children

Anyone interested in donating may make checks payable to:

The Crisis Center

P.O. Box 446

Ottumwa, IA 52501

Anyone in need of help or support may call (800) 464-8340 or (641) 683-3122 or call the Women's Resource Center at (641) 683-1750.

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