Domestic violence awareness activities planned in Kayenta

KAYENTA, Ariz. - October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Tohdenasshai Shelter Home will be hosting several awareness activities throughout the month.

This year's theme, written by Monument Valley High School sophomore Matthew Hale is "Healing the Effects of Domestic Violence Lies in Honesty, Openness, and Support." His theme will be used throughout the year.

This month provides an excellent opportunity for our communities to demonstrate their support in ending domestic violence and to support the numerous victims who are among us. Moreover, it is a wonderful opportunity to educate the public on the seriousness of domestic violence and the prevalence of this epidemic in our lives.

The month started with the Kick-Off Cookout and Purple Ribbon Campaign on Oct. 1. Oct. 9 was the Sixth Annual Horseback Ride Against DV from the Chilchinbeto Chapter along NR591 to the Kayenta Rodeo Grounds. Today, Oct. 13, is the DV Awareness Walk and Candlelight Vigil from 5-7 p.m. from the Kayenta Chapter to Shepherd's Eye Visitor's Center with special music performance by "Spirit of Faith."

Following the vigil will be a special performance by "49 Laughs Comedy Show," featuring Ernie Tsosie, James Junes, Tatanka Means and Pax Harvey at the MVHS Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the shelter.

Finally, a pampering day is set aside for shelter residents on Oct. 22, and Oct. 27 will be the final event ending with an OctoberFest Health Fair at the Recreation Center.

It is imperative that everyone support and spread awareness about preventing and ending domestic violence because statistics shows the distressing impact it has in our lives.

According to the Bureau of Justice, about 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. Nearly one-third of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey.

And according to newspaper reports, 106 people died in Arizona in 2000 as a result of a domestic violence related homicide.

In addition, 22 perpetrators committed suicide. In 2001, 92 people died in Arizona as a result of a domestic violence related homicide and 17 perpetrators committed suicide (Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Related Homicides, 2000 and 2001).

Now in its 28th year in operation, the Tohdenasshai Shelter Home, one of two shelters on the Navajo Reservation, has been providing shelter and intervention/prevention services to domestic violence victims and their children. The shelter served 64 women and 103 children from August 2009 through August 2010. During the same time, staff provided educational and outreach activities to 2,524 people through 63 events such as information booths, presentations, talking circles and trainings.

For additional information, contact Tohdenasshai Shelter Home staff at (928) 697-3635.

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