Protection from More than Just Water

Umbrella Thumbnail w- border copy 2ST. JOHNSBURY- While many know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, some might not know that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In 2016, President Barack Obama made a proclamation to help those who have been victims of domestic violence. "The physical and emotional scars of domestic violence can cast a long shadow. Too many individuals, regardless of age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, circumstance, or race, face the pain and fear of domestic violence."

This is exactly what the Umbrella Organization in St. Johnsbury has been doing for the past 40 years. They look to help the nearly 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 7 men, that have suffered from domestic violence by an intimate partner.
Over the past two decades, rates of domestic violence against females have fallen by almost 75%. This is in large part due to places like Umbrella, that seek to enhance the lives of everyone in the community by promoting safety, respect, development, and education through their lifespan.

"Domestic violence is manipulative. It's isolating. It's making sure you have no money, no friends, no family connections. So if you can be that one person that stands by their side, you'd be making a huge impact," said Ally Manonous, Prevention Specialist at Umbrella.

"Every one of us has a role we can play in domestic violence," said Manonous. "You could be a an engaged bystander. When you see a friend going through it, you're talking to them. A lot of us feel like it's not our business, we don't want to get involved with the issue. But some ways are just to continually offer your support, ask what's going on, and a lot of people will try and invite their friends out and say 'Hey come on,' or 'Hey, break up with them,' and then lose faith."

According to Manonous, the most important thing to remember is to continuously support a victim, because eventually the person will need you.
"You should always keep pushing, because at some point these relationships last a while, but at some point they'll be ready to get out, and that's when they need a friend there."

Umbrella is also advocating for a bill that would restrict those accused of domestic violence from carrying firearms. The bill, which is now in the hands of the Vermont Senate after being passed by the House in March 2017, would mandate that any guns be temporarily confiscated by law enforcement in cases of domestic assault.

 

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