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Domestic violence vigil set for Oct. 7

Raising awareness that there is help for victims of domestic violence is the goal behind a vigil next month hosted by the county’s task force.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force will host its sixth annual vigil and balloon launch at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7 on the campus of Ohio University Southern in Ironton.

Guest speaker for the event will be Tonia Moultry, training and technical assistance director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network. She will be specifically on the impact of domestic violence on children.

Elaine Payne, director of the county’s task force, said the annual program has gone a long way in raising awareness of the resources available to victims of domestic violence, especially the shelter.

“At one point in time, people would say ‘I didn’t know we had a shelter for domestic violence,’” Payne said. “We’ve had a lot of calls and referrals from Ashland and Huntington.”

Another step taken to raise awareness is a billboard on State Route 52 that urges people to call the task force for help in a domestic violence situation. Payne said that billboard would rotate throughout the county, and it has already prompted some phone calls.

Payne said many people who seek help from the task force come with nothing but the clothes on their back.

“We can bring you in and give you shelter,” Payne said. “Some have been brainwashed that they are worthless by their significant other. We assess them based on their needs and refer them to areas where they can get on their feet.”

Payne also said OUS partners with the task force for the vigil and will have a T-shirt clothesline project displayed.

This will be the second year for the display, which features shirts with individual designs about domestic violence.

On the day of the vigil, blank shirts will be available for anyone to design and those shirts will be displayed as well throughout the month of October.