OKEECHOBEE – “Domestic violence continues to be a plague on our community of Okeechobee, affecting one in four women in their lifetime,” Jonathan Bean, of Martha’s House, told Okeehobee County Commissioners at their Sept. 23, 2021 meeting.
Bean asked the county commissioners issue a Proclamation designating the month of October 2021 as Domestic Violence and Awareness Month in Okeechobee County.
“It’s a very difficult subject to deal with,” said Dean.
Domestic Violence Awareness month mourns those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrates those who have survived and connects those who work to end violence.
Martha’s House is a full service domestic violence shelter for survivors and their children. Martha’s House is dedicated toward working to end domestic violence and to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Martha’s House operates a 24-bed emergency shelter and a 24 hour hotline; provides outreach services; violence prevention education; court hearing accompaniment and injunction assistance and victims’ compensation.
Providing services to survivors is key to ending domestic violence, yet without solid and effective prevention programs, education and social change, domestic violence will not end, Bean explained. Martha’s House holds as a high priority, impacting future generations with life changing information, and challenging the community to rethink its acceptance and tolerance of domestic violence.
In this past year, Martha’s House provided emergency shelter to 290 survivors of domestic violence and their children, totaling over 4,000 nights in shelter. Advocates in the Martha’s House domestic violence center distributed 584 safety plans and responded to 848 hotline calls.
On Oct. 11, Martha’s House will be at the main intersection promoting awareness. “Please honk your horn to show your support,” Bean said.
On Oct. 16, from noon to 4 p.m. “Walk in Her Shoes,” will be in Flagler Park. This interactive story will follow the path of a victim of domestic violence. It takes about an hour to walk through the program.
Oct. 21 is also National Wear Purple Day. Wear purple to show your support for the victims of domestic violence.