Like Proliteracy, one of our funding partners, the Ardmore Literacy Leadership coalition strives to raise awareness of domestic violence and the social issues left in its wake for our community.
Tuesday night, many of us gathered at Central Park for an annual vigil for those lost to domestic abuse. Survivors spoke about their own stories. Advocates, members of the district attorney’s office, law enforcement, a state representative and community members held candles in remembrance and in solidarity.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Handke assured those gathered that their office takes domestic abuse seriously — and shared that they are also on the look out for the signs that a victim may still be suffering or be stuck.
“There’s a saying that has picked up around the office,” Handke said. “If you see something, say something.”
Oklahoma State Representative Tammy Townley said more than 80 people were killed last year in Oklahoma, related to domestic abuse. Three of those were here, in our own community.
Townley encouraged an end to victim blaming as well. “They’re asking for help, not attention,” Townley said.
To those who may still be in the grips of an abusive situation, Townley said, “Speak truth into yourself daily. You are enough. Tell your children the same.”
Together with our community and our partner agencies, we can work to alleviate social issues like domestic violence, by giving survivors and would-be victims the tools to persevere and by giving those without voices the resources and support to make a change. Our partners offer adult education classes as well as financial literacy and other family programs to help our neighbors combat the situations keeping them tied to violent situations.
If you are looking for local resources or need help, contact the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma. They have a 24/7 hotline staffed by advocates who can help: 580-226-6424.