October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and The Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) is encouraging the community to stand with the agency to speak out against domestic violence.
Throughout the month, DCFOF is hosting a number of events to shed more light on this issue.
On Oct. 17, the organization will host Dogs Against Domestic Violence at the Oak St. Drafthouse in Denton to raise awareness for the involvement of pets in domestic violence situations.
On Oct. 25, DCFOF will be on Facebook Live to host a candlelight vigil to honor Texas women who have been killed through domestic violence.
“We really hope that people realize that this is something that happens in every community,” said Taylor Gleitz, community educator with DCFOF. “A lot of times people think that domestic violence is tied to a certain socioeconomic status, or it’s a problem that doesn’t happen here in your backyard. We’re hoping it brings awareness to the fact that it is something that happens here in Denton County.”
Gleitz said domestic abuse isn’t always physical or sexual in nature, but it can be things like possessiveness or controlling behavior.
“What we see a lot of is more emotional, verbal, psychological or financial abuse,” she said. “Those things are more under the surface that a lot of people who experience it themselves don’t identify as a victim of domestic violence.”
This month, the organization will be using what it calls silent witnesses, which are life-sized wooden cutouts that share the story of people who lost their lives to their intimate partner.
Gleitz said several businesses in the community are displaying these “witnesses” inside their stores.
Gleitz said DCFOF hopes the community will take one step further past awareness and get involved with the organization's many donation and volunteer needs.
For example, volunteers are needed for the Survivor Advocacy Team, the agency's hospital response team.
“We cannot have that team without volunteers,” Gleitz said. “...That’s the primary thing we really want people to get involved with as well as helping with our other events. There are tons of ways for people to get involved.”