“Silence hides the violence.” Total Action for Progress spreads domestic violence awareness

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:26 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Total Action for Progress is spreading the word to people in those situations that there is hope and help for them.

“Statistically we know that it’s about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 woman and about 1 in 7 men,” Stacey Sheppard, the director for housing and human services with TAP, said. “So when you think about the people you know, it’s an epidemic; it’s common.”

Domestic violence can present itself in a variety of ways, from physical and sexual abuse to emotional, verbal and even financial abuse.

“In that situation a lot of people feel like there’s no hope,” Sheppard said.

One of the ways in which the pandemic impacted victims of domestic violence is that local shelters reduced their bed capacity and so many people were forced to remain at home with their abusers.

In response, TAP added shelter to its list of services by providing Airbnbs, hotels, motels and more to anyone in need of a safe place to stay.

“And it really took off,” she said. “In a matter of 12 months or so, we have sheltered over 60 families.”

This shelter service was so well received that TAP was awarded the national Purple Ribbon Award for outstanding services launched.

“It’s just an honor for us to be recognized,” Sheppard said.

Total Action for Progress given Purple Ribbon Award for outstanding services launched in 2020.
Total Action for Progress given Purple Ribbon Award for outstanding services launched in 2020.(WDBJ7)

Along with the medal, TAP was given grant money and an safety app subscription to be given to clients to help them keep track of their legal and safety needs.

“We were excited about that because that’s something we would not normally purchase or be able to afford,” she said.

And while TAP works to end domestic violence in our hometowns, they’re also encouraging people to look out for their friends and family and speak out against it.

“Silence hides the violence,” Sheppard said. “And if we don’t talk about it then we’re not going to be able to help others; we’re not going to be able to help ourselves. So it’s very important that we get to have these conversations and we bring awareness. And we get to do that in October, but we should really do that year round.”

And you can start speaking up by attending the 14th Annual A Walk in Their Shoes event. There has been a location change due to possible thunderstorms Friday.

It’s still happening Oct. 8 from noon-2 p.m., but it’ll now be inside Straight Street. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.

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