|Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk speaks out about domestic violence Oct. 2 at the Civic Center.|
In an eloquent talk in front of a crowd of about 50, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk outlined what characterizes domestic violence and how to support someone who is victim of abuse.
The Second Annual Take Back the Night event at the Prescott Valley Civic Center on Wednesday evening drew survivors and their family members, and supporters from the community, including PV Interim Police Chief James Edelstein and members of the PVPD Family Violence Unit, Director Kathryn Chapman and Victim Advocate Ellen Larson with the Yavapai County Family Advocacy Center, PV Mayor Harvey Skoog, and Vice-Mayor Lora Lee Nye who moderated the event.
Polk listed signs of domestic abuse and how friends and family can be alert to escalating danger.
"Victims will say, 'Things are getting worse,' right before the abuser kills," she said, adding that sometimes taking out an Order of Protection can be the most dangerous time in a relationship.
A support system is vital, Polk said. When a victim talks about her situation, "believe her, take her seriously." The decision to leave is not an easy one, she added.
Tina, a domestic violence survivor who left her abusive relationship after 14 years, spoke to the crowd, saying she was ashamed to admit she was wrong about her husband. After dating in high school, then marriage and two small children, she made the decision to leave.
"Recovery lasts a lifetime, but abuse doesn't have to," she said.
Between speakers, Chapman read off names of Yavapai County victims of homicide due to domestic violence from 2008-2012. Eleven candles were lit for the named victims and one candle for the unnamed whose cases are still open.
Victim advocates with the Family Advocacy Center can be reached at 928-775-0669.
PV Family Violence Unit members are Cpl. Mike Williams, 928-772-5127, Det. James Tobin, 928-772-5173, or CSO Traci Shelburg, 928-772-5149.