For SeekHaven, a local non-profit organization, October is a busy: It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
SeekHaven has been present in the Moab community since 1990. The organization provides housing, job search assistance, and legal support for victims of abuse. They also spend time educating the community about domestic violence.
“We go out into the community, to the schools and different organizations, to talk about healthy relationships, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Amie Whipple, the coordinator of outreach and education at SeekHaven.
SeekHaven also works with the Homeless Coalition to provide resources and support for members of the homeless community who have suffered domestic violence. SeekHaven provides them with tents, sleeping bags, clothing, and personal care items.
To raise awareness this month, SeekHaven is hosting the Third Annual Moab’s Got Talent. There is a $5 suggested donation to watch the show or participate. The theme is “Show up and show off to break the silence.”
“The more people who talk about [domestic violence] and acknowledge that it’s happening, the more the likelihood of someone stepping up and saying that they need help goes up,” Whipple said.
There will be awards and prizes after the show, followed by a candlelight vigil. The event will be held at 7 p.m., Oct, 12 at the Seekhaven Chapel.
SeekHaven will also post a banner on the ball field fence across from the library to promote awareness. It will be accompanied by different-colored ribbons to represent the members of the community that SeekHaven has served. Purple represents females, blue represents males, yellow represents children, and the white ribbons represent those who have passed away due to domestic violence.
“Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate; it’s like a disease,” Whipple said. “Any background, education, ethnicity, money—it doesn’t matter. I see everyone from all kinds of backgrounds. It runs the gamut.”
As the Moab community grows, instances of domestic violence are increasing. Reporting of abuse is also increasing, but according to domesticviolencestatistics.org, between 55 and 95 percent of domestic violence cases are never reported.
“It is your business, whether you think it is or not. Be an involved bystander. If you think that something’s wrong with someone, say something! Whether it’s happening in your home or somebody else’s, it is your business,” Whipple said. “It’s a problem that affects the community as a whole. It might not be happening in your household, but your kids might be going to school with your neighbors’ kids. That affects everybody. If people don’t get help, the problem just continues.”
Domestic violence can come in the form of manipulation, physical abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, or social isolation. Abusers often will attempt to isolate the victim by keeping tabs on them, constantly text messaging them, and preventing them from spending time with their friends.
“The problem is that often people confuse that for love. ‘They just love me so much that they just always have to be around me.’ [The abuser] will say that, you know. ‘It’s because I love you.’ And that’s where it becomes so confusing,” Whipple said. “No, that is not love.”