If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, tonight the Ottumwa Crisis Center will afford you the opportunity to pay tribute by hosting a candle light vigil in the parking lot of the United Way of Jasper County.
The United Way of Jasper County is located at 312 First Ave. W. and the vigil will start at 6 p.m. Pamela Romaine, the OCC advocate for Jasper County, gave some more background on the event.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During this time we try to have events that will help raise awareness to the problem of domestic violence,” Romaine said. “We anticipate it lasting 30 to 45 minutes. The United Way has graciously offered to host this event in their parking lot, weather permitting. Otherwise, it will move into the United Way’s conference room.”
Romaine expects this event to stir up a lot of emotions for those who attend.
“One of the real heartfelt parts of a domestic violence vigil is that we read small snippets about individual victims who have lost their lives to domestic violence right here in Iowa,” Romaine said.
One such incident took place in Newton on Oct. 9, 2010. According to records, Jay Dee Mack, a Newton resident, was alleged to have shot his girlfriend Angela Ancer, also from Newton, to death. Mack was found guilty of the crime on July 20, 2011, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Aug. 8, 2011.
This event is not the only thing OCC has done to help spread awareness on domestic violence issues. OCC helped spur Newton Mayor Mike Hansen to formally declare October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the city.
“Having the mayor sign a declaration declaring October Domestic violence Month is awesome,” Romaine said. “I cannot express enough the importance of having this community work together to provide services that insure the safety of domestic violence victims. Domestic violence victims need advocates, law enforcement, legal services, service providers and medical care working together to fight this cause.”
OCC covers 11 counties and Romaine not only represents Jasper County in the organization, but she is a Newton resident, as well. She said her job as an advocate is to provide victims one-on-one counseling, medical advocacy, man the 24 hour crisis line, make referrals, and provide information.
If you or someone you know is in need of aid, the 24 hour crisis line may be contacted at 1-800-464-8340. If you are interested in volunteering or helping, you may contact the Newton outreach center at (641) 799-7207.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.