GREAT FALLS — "No More Violence Week" continued in Great Falls on Thursday. The event, now in its eighth year, was founded by Dr. Cherie McKeever and Great Falls College MSU students as a way to bring awareness to and combat violence in our community.
Thursday's event was a presentation by Cat Otway at Great Falls College-MSU titled "Sexual Violence and Strangulation: Saving Lives." Otway is a nationally-recognized trainer and educator in the areas of sexual violence and strangulation. She addressed child abuse, domestic violence, sexual violence, and the role that strangulation can have in any and all of them.
Otway said, "Often times, and most often, it happens in a domestic violence relationship. Strangulation can happen between stranger-to-stranger. However, it most often happens in the context of boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife. Before, strangulation was just treated like a slap, or a kick, or a punch, when it's one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence in our nation."
Part of the seminar was to show that it's not just violence itself that we as a community should be educated on, but also the types of violence.
Bowler noted, "One of the things that we can do to break that is just to bring awareness and to encourage victims to get help and encourage community members to reach out and offer support to advocate for those victims and to recognize the science of violence, and the community engagement is really what's going to help break that cycle."
Dandelion Foundation board member Kelsie Bowler said, "Montana sees a significantly higher rate than the national average. For example, 38 percent of women and 35 percent of men in Montana have been victims of domestic violence as compared to the national average with just 24 percent and 13 percent respectively."
Click here for more information about No More Violence Week events.
NOTE: If you have been sexually abused or are the victim of domestic violence, help is available. You can contact a law enforcement officer, a pastor/clergy member, a trusted medical professional, or one of several agencies that can help, including Victim-Witness Assistance Services in Great Falls (406-315-1111) or the YWCA (406-452-1315). You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by clicking here.
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