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A Holiday Helper for Victims

By Staff | Dec 23, 2008

While most regard the holiday season as merry and bright, there are those for whom holidays are extermely dangerous.

Over the past year, Gaye Ranck Jenkins traveled from Elimsport to Laporte and her job as coordinator for the Sullivan County Victim Services. Her expertise with aiding suffers of Domestic Violence developed from working formerly with Wise Options at Williamsport. When the position at Sullivan County opened, Jenkins applied and was accepted.

The coordinator’s biggest challenge has been revamping the program to fit the rural population. Domestic violence is not limited to urban areas but happens in rural communities, too.

Jenkins pointed out efforts in place to prevent abuse include volunteers presenting programs on bullying in schools, scout groups and churches. The same programs are available for coaches, daycare center personnel and senior centers.

“In fact, some insurers require workers in those positions to receive this type of training,” Jenkins said. Additional programs include how to recognize traits of an abuser and also identy theft.

Jenkins had a personal experience with abuse. Often survivors turn into passionate volunteers. Her work is an example of structuring her life to help others. Formerly for seven years, she taught similar courses at Penn College on a part time basis.

Most crisis centers sponsor regular events to raise much needed funds, and in Sullivan County they include a golf tournament and a Victorian tea. They also receive exposure with booths at health fairs and other area events.

Included in pamphlets the Victims Service distribute are printed messages from survivors. “When you’re out on a fram at night, there’s no one to hear you scream. And there’s nowhere to go except out on a dark road,” reported one. Another begs us to understand, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to run to, especially when money is tight. I feel like I’m forced to stay here. Where am I going to go-run to the woods?”

A rural activist said, “I can’t tell the difference in the horror of screaming and no one coming to help, or the horror of screaming and no one hearing me at all.”

If you have a New Year’s resolution to aid groups helping others, consider becoming a volunteer against Domestic Violence. There are many ways in which to help including staffing a hotline. Some positions require 80 hours of training to do so. “Just now we are short of volunteere here, it takes many individuals,” Jenkins said.

These centers often see a raise in needs for services during the holidays. Expectations are high, finances tight and celebrations including alcohol increase.

Abuse hotlines are confidential and as near as your phonebook should you or someone you know need help to survive.

Urban or rural, abuse can occur anywhere. Become involved in these services and support the enslaved where victims cower, yet are unseen, feared, or ignored by most.