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Bringing domestic violence to light

Counselors, law enforcement, churches come together to mark observance

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FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Anne Reames, standing, speaks Friday at the Domestic Violence Awareness Day ceremony hosted by New Directions of Consolidated Care Inc. at St. Patrick Church in Bellefontaine. Also pictured are, from the left, December Miller, New Directions volunteer; Cheryl Garland-Briggs, New Directions legal advocate; Debbie Brownlee, New Directions counselor; and volunteer Candy Dunn. ABOVE: Purple ballons were released during the event. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

Violence within the family is an issue that is often lived in silence by its victims. However, Friday afternoon, community members came together to bring this problem to light during a Domestic Violence Awareness Day ceremony at St. Patrick Church in Bellefontaine.

The gathering was organized by New Directions of Consolidated Care Inc., a local family violence prevention intervention program that has been in existence for 11 years and offers counseling and legal advocacy for victims.

“The term ‘celebration’ might seem like an odd word to use with ‘domestic violence,’” said Debbie Brownlee, New Directions counselor. “But today we’re celebrating hope and safety. We are happy that families can learn what a healthy relationship is. We’re celebrating victims becoming survivors.”

Deacon Harold Dipple opened the ceremony with an invocation and reading from Psalm 140.

“We commend all of those who have suffered to the healing power of God,” he said during his prayer.

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