'Silent Witness' program coming to OTC

'Silent Witness' program coming to OTC

Monday, October 07, 2013

Media Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

The issue of domestic violence will be the topic of a powerful display at OTC Springfield Campus today and Tuesday.

The Silent Witness Project comes to OTC in cooperation with the Community Partnership of the Ozarks and will have various life-sized wooden silhouettes, each accompanied by a brief narrative that tells the story of a real woman, man or child affected by family violence.

Joyce Bateman, director of counseling services at OTC and chair of the College's Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), said domestic violence affects a large portion of our local community, which includes the College’s students, staff and faculty.

"It is a national epidemic and Springfield and our surrounding communities are not immune.  Our domestic violence problems have actually been rising.  Just last year, Springfield had a dramatic increase in aggravated assault cases of 22 percent and 70 percent of the aggravated assaults were domestic related," Bateman said.

Amber Allen, Prevention Specialist, Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention Division for the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, said the Silent Witness Project was started by the Violence Free Families Coalition.

"The exhibit serves as a vivid reminder of the issue of domestic violence, which is often a hidden epidemic in our community. Victims of family violence often remain silent out of fear and feel they have no power and no voice. Some survive tell their stories and some do not," she said.

Bateman said the Silent Witness display should help increase awareness among students, staff and faculty of the impact domestic abuse has on the community.

In addition to the display, students, staff and faculty will have access to materials about domestic violence along with community resources.

"Both witnesses and victims will no longer remain silent," she said.

Allen said interpersonal violence does not have a type.

"It can happen to persons of any age, gender, race/ethnicity or sexual orientation. Three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. One in every three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime," she said.

If anyone knows about someone in a violence situation, they can call the 24 Hour Hotline at 417-864-7233 (SAFE).