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Community campaign targets domestic violence

"Purple and lavender balloons will pop up all over Oak Harbor tomorrow to signal the start of the annual October campaign to focus attention on domestic violence. Oak Harbor Soroptimists will take the balloons to car dealerships, local stores and businesses, along with signs that explain that those businesses - and the Soroptimists - support Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse in their fight against domestic violence. The Soroptimist campaign, which is nation-wide, is designed to emphasize how domestic violence and child abuse can affect the workplace. Our aim is to raise awareness that these things are happening and we can't just shut our eyes and pretend it's not happening here, because it is, said Polly Dyer, chair of the balloon project.Oak Harbor Soroptimists mainly work with CADA to give abused women the help they need to find employment, Dyer said. But they also want to make employers aware of what can be done if an abuser intrudes into the workplace.According to statistics compiled by Soroptimists International of America, 96 percent of employed battered women experience problems at work due to abuse from a partner and each year there are 13,000 acts of violence against women at work committed by their partners.In addition to the pain to individuals, the Soroptimists say that businesses in the United States lose about $100 million every year in lost wages, absenteeism, and loss or productivity, due to domestic violence.--------------October is Domestic Violence Awareness month across the United States. On Whidbey Island, Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse have planned a month of events and activities that are open to the public to put a spotlight on the help that's available for victims of domestic violence.Here's the calendar:* A new program for low-income victims of domestic violence in Island County will be introduced at a special meeting of the Island County Domestic Violence Task Force, Friday, Oct. 13, from noon-1:30 p.m. at the Oak Harbor Public Works Department Conference Room, 1400 NE 16th Ave., Oak Harbor. At the same meeting, CADA will kick off two new domestic violence projects: a program to increase services to elderly or disabled victims of family violence; and a program called Strategic Outreach Services (SOS) that will focus on minority, non-English speaking or geographically isolated victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.* CADA will set up an information and volunteer recruitment table at the Wednesday, Oct. 18, luncheon meeting of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m. at Kasteel Franssen.* The CADA Board of Directors will take community leaders on a tour of the agency and its shelters on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 1-5 p.m.* Training for new CADA volunteers begins on Friday, Oct. 20, from noon-1:30 p.m. at CADA's Community Resource Center, 3157 North Goldie Road. Registration required. Volunteer positions open: peer counselors; crisisline workers; group facilitators* In Her Shoes, a simulation based on true stories of Washington state women who have been victims of domestic violence, will be presented in several venues: Rosewood Women's Resource Center, Langley, Monday, Oct. 23, from noon-2 p.m.; Whidbey General Hospital, Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 1-5 p.m.; Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Hospital, Thursday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. In Her Shoes can be presented at businesses and other workplaces or for club meetings. Call for details.* A seminar called Learning How to Help: A Call to Action will be presented by Washington State Office of Crime Victims' Advocacy Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28-29, at Skagit Valley College, Room HH-137. This is a free, 15-hour training workshop designed for new volunteers, peer counselors, health care providers, or community members who want to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Registration required.For information about any of these events, call 675-CADA. "

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