Oct. 6, 2021 — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On Sunday, Siuslaw Outreach Services (SOS) Director Bob Teter led a group of local students and concerned individuals on a somber march from Veteran’s Park in Historic Old Town to the boardwalk at the Port of Siuslaw.
Members of the SOS Board of Directors, joined by Florence Mayor Joe Henry and his wife Pam, were participants in the silent vigil that made its way slowly down Bay Street.
Florence Police Department led the way, with lights flashing, as people applauded and signaled encouragement to the marchers
“This past year we have all been met by challenges, hardships, failed relationships and economic uncertainty. Social media and the news outlets are filled with stories of people screaming and yelling at each other for any number of reasons. Many feel their lives are spiraling out of control,” Teter said. “Domestic violence is based upon one’s attempt to control. The abuser has a need to have total control over their partner or family member. … Now, you add the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, you get the perfect storm for the abused.”
According to Teter, domestic violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women and children in the state of Oregon. In 2020, 477 individuals residing in the Florence area sought help escaping domestic violence.
He added there are things people can do, including: speaking up when you see someone being abused; encouraging those who are abused to seek help; letting those abused know they do not deserve such treatment; financially supporting agencies serving survivors of abuse; and seeking the assistance of professionals.
“We are all affected by domestic violence,” Teter said. “We all have an obligation to help one another. We all can make a difference.”
For more information on SOS and its services, call 541-997-2816 or go to florencesos.org.