New effort in the works to help domestic violence victims

By JoAnna Swanson | Aug 20, 2013

Domestic abuse, according to statistics, has increased.  Although the exact reasons cannot be pinpointed, the latest analysis points to the possible presence of a “warrior/bully” gene which can manifest all the time or just activate when the person gets under excess stress.  And, of course, one of the causes of excess stress is fear of economic loss.  This may explain why recession can bring out the worst in anyone with this gene.
However it may be, abuse – whether committed by a male or a female – is ugly and potentially lethal.
A new project is beginning, called AWAY TO GO. The aim of this program is to help re-locate abused spouses, as well as children and abused elderly, to other counties within the state and also to other states.  This program would be a victim protection program, similar to the well known witness protection program. The idea for this project was formulated by Haywood resident Preston Tinsley.
The program is in a fledgling state, as there are many facets to consider, such as means of transportation, job training provision in the new location, temporary shelter until housing can be found, food, clothing and medical supplies needed until a means of income is established and, of course, notification of protective police agencies in the new location, as well as help from police agencies and the sheriff’s office in Haywood County.
A meeting to explain this project – and to gauge community interest – will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the Gateway building, located on Church Street in Waynesville.  As refreshments will be provided, it is necessary to know how many are coming. To reserve your seat, please call The Gateway Club at 456-6789.  You will be asked for your name, phone number
(in case of change of day or time) and the number in your party.
Domestic violence is against the law in North Carolina according to General Statute 50B and victims have the right to take legal action to end the abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.”  If you, or anyone you know needs immediate assistance, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
The many forms of abuse defined are:
Physical abuse includes hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, burning, cutting and pinching and pulling hair.  
Sexual abuse is any coercion of a victim into having sexual contact without the victim’s consent.
Emotional abuse is just as serious and involves deflating a victim’s sense of self-worth by constant criticism, name-calling, injuring a person’s relationship with his/her children.
Psychological abuse involves an attempt to invoke fear through intimidation, verbal threats to physically hurt him/herself, the victim, the children, family, friends or pets. It also includes destruction of property and preventing the victim from going to work or school
Also in the abuse category are stalking and cyberstalking. Stalking involves continuous spying, watching, following, sending gifts, collecting information about a victim, making phone calls, leaving written messages, showing up at a victim’s home or workplace. Cyberstalking refers to any online action or unwanted repeated emailing.  
Dating violence is actually considered another form of domestic violence.
North Carolina law also protects disabled adults and disabled elderly, both male and female.  Abuse is not exclusive to Haywood County. It exists in every
state and nationally and internationally.