DURANT – Verizon Wireless and the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (OCADVSA) are raising domestic violence awareness through the month of October with the Silent Witness Initiative project. The project displays will travel across Oklahoma during the month of October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). The tour will stop October 1 at the Market Square in Durant, where it is open to the public from 7-8 p.m.
“The Silent Witness Initiative is a national memorial honoring those individuals whose lives were lost by domestic violence,” Marcia Smith, director of OCADVSA, said, in a news release. “Each life-sized red silhouette represents someone who once lived, worked and had friends and family before their life was taken. In turn, we are all affected by domestic violence.”
During this second year that OCADVSA is combining efforts with Verizon Wireless for the Silent Witness Initiative tour, the project will make stops statewide to promote safety and empowerment for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
“Each of us has a responsibility to help improve our community and The Silent Witness Initiative puts a face on the need to end domestic violence in every city, every state,” said Dean Taylor, president of the South Central Region of Verizon Wireless. “Verizon’s commitment as a technology company is to provide a safe line for domestic violence victims here in Oklahoma and nationwide through Hopeline. The donation of an old mobile phone can help change the life of a victim forever.”
Verizon’s Hopeline program puts technology and the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless network to work in communities by collecting no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories, from any carrier, and repurposing them as a lifeline for victims. Since Hopeline began in 2001, more than 9 million phones have been collected for repurposing to donate to domestic violence shelters and support organizations for use by victims who are trying to get their lives back together.
In October 2002, Verizon Wireless launched #HOPE nationwide. By dialing #HOPE from any Verizon Wireless phone, victims of domestic violence are able to access professional support quickly and confidentially. The call is routed to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE). #HOPE is a vital part of the Hopeline program, providing victims with an avenue to safety and independence.
The Durant event marks the second stop of the tour across Oklahoma during DVAM. Other events to raise awareness include a rally and lighting ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol and multiple screening of Telling Amy’s Story, the account of a woman killed by her husband.
More information of the events of Domestic Violence Awareness Month can be found on the OCADVSA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ywca, www.ywcaokc.org or www.ocadvsa.org.