October is an important month for women's issues. Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but October is also Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) started Unity Day in 1981 to bring together organizations working to end domestic violence.
Unity Day is celebrated on the first Monday of October every year.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first recognized in 1987.
The NCADV offers information and services to victims of domestic abuse, including cosmetic and reconstructive support for those who have been injured and cannot afford the treatment.
According to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), domestic violence is big issue in Indiana.
From July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, there were 79 domestic violence deaths in the state.
Emergency shelters served 5,138 adult and 4,334 child victims of domestic violence in that same time period.
Also, 108,634 phone calls were made to an emergency Crisis Line. This number is up from 93,618 calls from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004.
Most of the women in the emergency shelters were between the ages of 18-46, and their abuser was a spouse or boyfriend.
In a county-by-county breakdown, Clay County emergency shelters helped four adults and two children during the 2005-06 study.
ICADV is holding a Silent Witness display outside of the state courthouse in Indianapolis this week.
Silent Witness is a portable memorial to victims of domestic abuse. The life-sized wooden figures represent women who have been murdered by an intimate partner.
ICADV has the 25 figures in Indianapolis until Friday. The memorial is available for use by member organizations of the ICADV to be displayed in public.
Coinciding with the Silent Witness memorial, ICADV is presented the first-ever Empowerment Awards on Wednesday.
The three recipients, Senator Connie Sipes, WTHR Public Affairs Director Angela Cain, and Wendy Noe of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, were given the award for furthering the effort to end domestic violence through legislation, public awareness, or education.
In Terre Haute, Mayor Kevin Burke proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Oct. 1, and a large purple banner is on display in the city courthouse rotunda.
Burke and Susan Hall, Executive Director of the Council on Domestic Abuse, Inc. (CODA), led the ceremony, and held a candlelight vigil for victims outside of the courthouse.
Clay County is served by CODA, which is based in Terre Haute.
CODA provides shelter for victims for up to 60 days, legal advocacy, transitional housing, and children's support groups.
Brock Mullen is the CODA outreach liaison to Clay County. He leads a support group at the YMCA and works with the prosecutor to provide legal support to victims.
CODA also has a youth education program that teaches middle and high school students how to identify abusive relationships.
The program, which is used in Clay Community Schools, also teaches anger management.
Michelle Price, the Director of Program Development for CODA, said that she would like to see more support and involvement from Clay County.
According to CODA's website, more women are injured in domestic violence incidents in one year than rapes, muggings, and car accidents combined.