Submitted photo October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Morgan Tedesco, a Safe Passage Prevention and Youth Services coordinator and South Dearborn graduate, hung the DV banner at the tunnel entrance at Walnut Street in Lawrenceburg.

Communities band together to stop domestic violence

Domestic Violence is an alarming and pervasive problem in our country, and not just in metro areas, but small rural communities too.

“We see it in southeast Indiana, right here in the picturesque and quiet rural communities which people often compare to Mayberry,” said Jane Yorn, Executive Director and founder of Safe Passage.

“Yet Domestic Violence does not discriminate by location, age, income, education or race. Since we started Safe Passage in 1997, we have helped over 12,000 victims and their children of domestic violence. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to increase.”

Safe Passage has been the sole provider of a domestic violence shelter and victim services in Dearborn, Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Switzerland Counties, and as of 2015, Jefferson County.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Safe Passage has planned several activities in the communities to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence.

The theme from the original 1987 national DV Awareness month holds true 30 years later.

As Yorn stated, “We will mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who survived and connect those who work to end violence.”

She mentioned last year’s October DV fatality in Madison. Laura Russell, a nurse, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband, a teacher, who then killed himself.

DV Awareness month kicked off Sept. 30 in Brookville, with a Handbags 4 Hope fundraiser for Safe Passage. Fifty new and gently used purses were auctioned, and over 100 guests heard a personal story from a local domestic violence survivor.

Purple ribbons and banners have been placed in highly visible spots in the six counties, including downtown Lawrenceburg and at the tunnel entrance on Walnut Street. Lawrenceburg Mayor Kelly Mollaun signed a Domestic Violence Awareness proclamation for the month of October at the start of the month.

Also, Safe Passage staff will wear symbolic purple ribbons all month, and distribute to the social service agencies, schools, and organization, to remind them of the plight of these victims but also that there is nearby support to facilitate healing and independence.

  As part of DV awareness, the SP outreach team will connect with law enforcement and offer Lethality Assessment Program training.

Caryn Burton from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence will lead the training Oct. 30 at the Lawrenceburg Community Center from 9 a.m. to noon. A complimentary breakfast will be served.

 On Oct. 26, domestic violence will be the focus of a community critical issues forum, sponsored by several organizations, at the YMCA in Batesville.

Experts in the field, including law enforcement will address the impact it has on schools, businesses, health care and other factors in the community.

The panel includes: Melissa Burton, Director of Student Learning at Batesville Community School Corp.; Kip Main, ISP Master Trooper Detective; Ashley Brittain, Human Resources Generalist at Batesville; Trish Hunter, Director of Innovation and Lean at Margaret Mary Health and who is also the Safe Passage Board President; and Liz Leising, Chief Nursing Officer at MMH.

Registration starts at 11 a.m. with the complimentary luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations are requested by calling the YMCA at 1-812-933-6006 by Oct. 24.

Although local organizations, churches and businesses are behind the work of Safe Passage year round and graciously support their fundraisers, this month Batesville Bird in a Tree boutique owner Lori Rennekamp will do so in particular during the month of October.

Those who bring in an item needed for Safe Passage, as listed in the SP monthly email blast, will receive a 10 percent discount at the store.  And on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, 10 percent of the sales from the fashion boutique located on Main Street will be donated  to Safe Passage.  

Yorn commented she is truly grateful to the community for 20 years of support and noted the exterior and interior building renovations were recently completed, thanks to donations from the community which helped Safe Passage win the $100,000 AllState Purple Purse challenge.

The annual Dec. 2 We Heal. We Help. We Hope major fundraiser at Walhill Farms will recognize some of these outstanding supporters.

For more information about Safe Passage and domestic  violence, go to the website at The toll-free help line is 1-877-733-1990 or 1-812-933-1990.