Courthouse ornaments to bring awareness to domestic abuse

S.A.F.E. of Clarion County will place temporary pinwheel ornaments on the courthouse lawn at 10 a.m. Monday to recognize the victims of domestic abuse.

“Domestic violence is a serious crime that affects people of all races, ages, income levels and sexual orientations,” said Jennifer Hurrelbrink, executive director of Clarion County S.A.F.E.

Domestic violence, she said, violates an “individual’s privacy, dignity, security and humanity,” due to the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and economic control and abuse.

Hurrelbrink said one out of every three women and one out of every four men report they have been physically abused by an intimate partner or family member at some point in their lives, and that 76 men, women and children in Clarion County have requested services because of domestic violence since July.

“In one year alone, 19 Clarion County women and seven children sought emergency domestic violence shelter for 433 nights,” she said.

“About 50% of the men who frequently assault their wives also frequently abuse their children, and one in four girls between 14 and 17 are involved in an abusive relationship.”

She said the total health care costs of family violence are estimated in the hundreds of millions each year.

“Only a coordinated community effort will put a stop to this heinous crime,” she said.

Clarion County commissioners Wayne R. Brosius, Ted Tharan and Ed Heasley proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and urged citizens to actively participate in programs sponsored by S.A.F.E. to work toward the elimination of institutional violence against women.