In the past, the Crisis Center of Comal County has used a vigil commemorating those who have lost their lives to domestic violence to raise awareness of the problem.
This year, the group hopes to focus more on the future, and preventing others from joining those victims through prevention and education.
One of the big events they will host in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, will be a forum for people to attend and share their thoughts and ideas.
“Obviously there’s a lot of topics behind domestic violence that are big right now and we feel that we’re seeing domestic violence or violence in the media,” said Delia Saucedo-Milam, CCCC development director. “It’s becoming more prominent in our community, and the education behind it really needs to be there.”
Many nonprofits in New Braunfels help victims of domestic or family violence, so the center wanted to open up the month not only to raise awareness of victims of domestic violence, but to also raise awareness behind violence in general.
Some of the panelists invited for the forum include Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp, MHDD Comal County Clinic Director Jennifer Nieto, and Alice Jewell from the McKenna Foundation.
“You know, it’s a difficult topic and it’s emotionally and politically charged,” Saucedo-Milam said. “We want to create a space where people can open up and speak freely, and we want a space where we could also educate and address the issues at the foundation of violence.”
The forum will also help them gain a new perspective and highlight concrete resources and programming intended to lessen the impact of violence.
“We want to create that opportunity for change, meaningful change and so we are,” Saucedo-Milam said.
The subtitle of the forum, called Disarming Domestic Violence, would be transformational change or transformational leadership.
Saucedo-Milam said this means providing preventative steps residents can take in their everyday lives to help end violence for their children and their future in New Braunfels.
“We really want to talk about the elephant in the room here,” Saucedo-Milam said. “We’re tired of tiptoeing around the whole domestic violence is happening, and we can say that all we want, but every day it’s in the media. And so every day our children are seeing it and we just we want to talk about it.”
On Thursday, the Commissioners Court of Comal County proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and on Oct. 14, New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel will proclaimed it in New Braunfels.
Until Oct. 10, the center will host a chalkboard in front of 2tarts Bakery, encouraging community members to write inspiration letters to victims and survivors of domestic violence.
During the week of Oct. 28-31, volunteers will paint their faces and upper body purple, and wear purple shirts announcing their pledge for DVAM, representing support to end violence in the community.
On Wednesdays, the center will use #WokeWednesday to share facts about domestic violence as well as actions they can take through their social media to help prevent violence.
“We’re going to speak about topics throughout the Crisis Center and really talk to our directors, like the shelter,” Saucedo-Milam said. “We’ll have our directors educate the community through social media about what our shelter process is and what our safety and security looks like, and just get the ins and outs of the Crisis Center.”
If anybody has any questions or a topic they’d like to talk about, they can direct message the CCCC on Facebook.
“As nonprofit leaders we want to be able to address those ideas and those thoughts and help them work through those and give them tools to improve our community in a better way,” Saucedo-Milam said.