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Domestic Violence Awareness Month commemoration aims to inspire community to action

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LIEUTENANT Gov. Arnold Palacios on Friday signed a proclamation designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The proclamation signing ceremony was conducted online.

Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence executive director Maisie Tenorio said the proclamation ceremony aims to give hope, motivation and inspire the community to action.

“We are here to share our strength, resilience and hope to light your darkest days because we know and understand how empowering it can be to have friends in your corner,” Tenorio said. 

The coalition defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior that one intimate partner uses to gain and maintain control over another. It can occur in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, and economic control.”

Batterers use tactics such as isolation, sexual and physical assault, forced use of illicit drugs or substances, insults, excessive monitoring, and possessiveness to control and manipulate victims and survivors, the coalition stated.

Women make up the largest group of all who experience domestic violence, but anyone can be affected by it, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, ability, educational background, or socioeconomic status, the proclamation stated.

“According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, abuse is about power and control, so one of the most important ways you can help a person in an abusive relationship is to consider how you might empower them to make their own decisions,” it added.

The campaign for the year will focus on the power of hope to help victims and survivors heal from violence, overcome shame, seek resources for protection and safety, and feel empowered.

This year’s theme is “H.O.P.E. — Heal. Overcome. Protect. Empower.”

During the proclamation ceremony, the coalition also honored the memories of women who were victims of domestic violence: Francisca Benavente Camacho, Rosalia Tomol Teigita, Erlinse Cabrera Santos, Vicky Ann Maratita Igitol, Lenore Salunga Miranda, Joanna S. Vitug, Ana Maria Pialur Limes and June Arriola Sandbergen.

“DVAM is about honoring their lives, cherishing their memories and making a commitment to speak their names. By doing so, [they] will continue to remind us that there is hope for their children, and generations to come,” Tenorio said.

DVAM is also celebrating the progress that victim advocates have made over the last 25 years, uniting one another to end domestic violence, she added.

When everyone has shut down during the time of pandemic, Tenorio said advocates, providers and responders continue to serve.

“In the past several months when it seemed that the whole world had come to a stop, the hotline didn’t shut down, the shelter didn’t close, clinicians continue to provide support and listen to survivors, our court continues to provide relief,” she said. “Even when survivors were the most isolated than they had ever been and it seemed like they couldn't reach out for help, our advocates, providers and responders stood ready and waiting for them when they are needed.”

In signing the proclamation, Palacios commended the coalition, the agencies and community organizations that advocate against domestic violence. He said the government will continue to support their efforts in addressing  domestic violence.

For more information about supporting victims and survivors, call the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence at 234-3878, or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at www.thehotline.org

For those who need help, call the Karidat Victim Hotline number at 234-5100.

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