Health

Raising Awareness on Domestic Violence

Two dozen local victims who lost their lives to domestic violence will be remembered tomorrow at the 10th anniversary of HOPE in the Park, an annual community event to raise awareness about relationship violence.

 

The free event will take place this Saturday, October 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the corner of 6th Avenue and Laurel Street. Thousands of people are expected to attend.

“HOPE in the Park is an event aimed at providing families and youth information and resources on being healthy – physically, mentally, and in their  relationships,” said Nick Macchione, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) director.

The event takes place every year to commemorate October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It features family activities, such as musical performances, youth art displays, yoga and a rock wall. Resources about domestic violence will also be available, and organizers will be collecting donated items such as formula, diapers, new socks, and school supplies for families living in domestic violence shelters.

“Abuse, whether physical, verbal, or financial is a serious problem and a lot of people don’t know what the warnings signs look like or how to support someone who needs help,” said Jeff Bucholtz, San Diego Domestic Violence Council president.

Last year, 17 women died during domestic violence incidents involving current or former husbands or boyfriends. Another seven victims were also killed in those incidents, five of them children. In addition, nine of the people convicted or suspected in these killings died by suicide or in confrontations with law enforcement. 

The names of the victims will be read during a special remembrance ceremony. Ginny Scharbarth, mother of murder victim Kathleen Scharbarth, will be one of several featured speakers. Other speakers include District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, U.S. Congressman Bob Filner, and Assistant City Attorney Marlea Dell’Anno.

Almost 16,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to local law enforcement in 2011. It is estimated that one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

“We are asking our community to take the first step in getting educated and involved by taking part in the HOPE in the Park event,” added Bucholtz. 

 “Everyone is impacted by domestic violence, whether directly or indirectly,” said Macchione. “Many children living in domestic violence shelters have already experienced trauma after witnessing months or years of abuse. Domestic violence can have short and long-term impacts on them cognitively, socially, and emotionally.”

HOPE in the Park is sponsored by the San Diego Domestic Violence Council (SDDVC), HHSA, Lifesharing and First 5 San Diego.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse by an intimate partner, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Calls to the 24/7 hotline are completely confidential. More information on domestic violence and the warning signs is available at www.thehotline.org.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact