11th annual event held in light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

NORWICH — The 11th Annual Catholic Charities Celebration of Women was held Thursday at the Artists’ Palette in downtown Norwich.

Guest speakers at the event included Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride and Ivory Henderson, a domestic violence survivor.

The event’s goals were to enlighten women, empower and educate women to provide them with a greater knowledge of the services available to them in Chenango County.

April Conant, a Crime Victim’s Advocate with Catholic Charities of Chenango County (CCOC) said the event was open to all genders, anyone who may be looking for further information on how to deal with domestic violence issues.

“We’re here to provide education about the services available to those who may be victims of domestic violence,” Conant said. “At this event we’ve featured home-based businesses that may empower women.”

In past years, the event was held at Howard Johnson’s in Norwich. This year, in an attempt to provide a more intimate atmosphere, the Artists’ Palette was selected as the venue. Owner Jill Kraft is also on the board at CCOC.

“Plus, change is always good,” Conant said.

Conant said more women in the area come to CCOC to report abuse than men as men may feel some sort of stigma about reporting abuse. She said domestic violence affects children, women and men.

Per information provided at the event one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime, and women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. Additionally, more than 3 million children each year are witnesses to domestic violence within their home.

According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is currently the third leading cause of homelessness among families.

Ivory Henderson spoke regarding her experiences with domestic violence. She is the founder of OneVoice4You, where victims are able to reach out and speak out.

Henderson said she would like to get into school to educate children about domestic violence, so children know to tell someone if they see something happening at home.

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