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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Battered Families Services reminds community hands are not for abuse

Domestic Violence Awareness month is here, and Battered Families Services of Gallup hosted their annual Domestic Violence Day. The event featured a walk and candlelight vigil with events held on Oct. 13 and 14.

The walk began at the City of Gallup Police Department along Historic Route 66 and concluded at McKinley County Courthouse Square, where games for the kids and adults were held, along with Zumba demonstrations, dance performances and guest speakers. A free lunch was provided to the first 250 participants, and according to Willard Eastman, director of Battered Families Services, all went well.

“This year was different,” Eastman said. “We had a lady from Santa Fe come down and do the wellness dance. Our speakers talked about a program focusing on children; we even had a cake walk, but we really wanted to get the word out about domestic violence awareness.”

Eastman provided statistics on domestic violence in the Gallup area.

He said one out of four calls made to metro dispatch is a domestic violence-related call. Last year, dispatch received 4,440 calls, and this year, that number has reached 4,678.

A night at the shelter is given to domestic violence victims in need of a safe place to stay, and this year, a total of 6,000 shelter nights were offered so far. Eastman said the number of nights is dependent on need.

“The word is getting out for the assistance, which is positive,” he said. “But only if they are willing to get out of the situation they’re in and make that call.”

On the evening of Oct. 14, a “Remember My Name” candlelight vigil was held in memory of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

Eastman said more fundraising events are scheduled, including a “Spa Day” set for Nov. 5 at the University of New Mexico-Gallup Cosmetology Classroom, from 11 am to 7 pm. Participants receive a facial/manicure for $5, and all proceeds benefit Battered Families Services.

And this holiday season, BFS will also host its annual Festival of Trees at the Rio West Mall. Eastman said he’s excited about the event.

“We’re really looking forward to it and glad we are doing it this year,” he said. “We really want this to be a huge success, as we’re hoping proceeds come in to help out Battered Families.”

For domestic voilence crises, call Battered Families, 24-hours a day: (505) 722-7483. For information on how you can help, call: (505) 722-6389.

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun