Today is the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018. We want to thank everyone who helped us celebrate our survivors, honor our victims, and spread awareness in Jackson County.

It means so much to have a supportive community for our survivors. As a domestic violence victim services coordinator and advocate, I know that support makes a difference in whether a victim will ever become a survivor. Knowing that there is somewhere to get support and help makes staying out of a dangerous situation just a little bit easier.
This Halloween as you see children dressed up as superheroes, princesses, and monsters please take a moment to think about those people who live with the real life monsters at home. Tonight you might have some monsters knocking on your door exclaiming, “Trick or Treat,” but hopefully, you will give them a piece of candy or a small toy and close your door. If you are one of the many people living with a monster at home, we hope that you will reach out for help. Please know that you do not have to go through this alone.
Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free, confidential support and help for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. We provide trauma informed care to individuals experiencing crisis in their lives. At Crisis Services, staff and volunteers are trained to provide information that can assist survivors of intimate partner violence in starting their lives over free from physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse. No one should have to live in a home with violence where they are afraid all the time.
If you are one of the many people right here in Jackson County that fear going home, we can help you. All it takes is one phone call to speak with an advocate. Let us help form a plan to get you out safely. We can give you information on your legal rights. An advocate can help navigate the legal system and work with survivors to make sure they know how to get protection orders, file charges, or escape to a safe location.
The scariest part of living in a violent home is never being prepared for when that other person will explode. Victims do everything that they can to keep the peace at home, but sometimes they can no longer pacify the other person. When a violent incident occurs lots of emotions arise. Why did this happen? How could it have been avoided? What could have gone differently? The victim usually blames themselves for the incident. They think it could have been avoided if they did something differently. As an advocate I hear people say if I had just done something else this would not have happened. The truth is that there is nothing a victim can do to stop the violence except get out of the situation. Leaving is the only way to ensure that the violence will stop for good.
This Halloween please remember all those who are hurting and scared to go home after all the trick or treating has ended. Talk with your friends and family about how to be safe and have a healthy relationship. If you feel like someone you know might be in an unhealthy or violent relationship please give them the information to reach out to Crisis Services. Our local office number is 256-574-5826, and our 24 hour HELPline is 256-716-1000.

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