Forum promotes domestic violence awareness at FMU

Donny Pearis

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, INC recently hosted a forum on domestic violence to teach FMU students the importance of being aware of the warning signs that point to unhealthy and possibly violent relationships in your family.

The Executive Director and Founder of the Naomi Project, Joyce Ford, delivered sobering statistics on domestic violence.

“The most common source of injury among women is the physical abuse by male social partners,” Ford said.  “Also if every woman victimized by domestic violence last year were to join hands in a line, the string of people would expand from New York to Los Angeles and back again.”

Ford, a veteran counselor with 33 years of experience was not there to hinder women from getting involved with social partners but to give them the tools for healthy, non-violent relationships.

“With one in four women in domestic violence situations, the word must be spread to our young ladies to be prepared.  This has become an epidemic in South Carolina, as well as the nation as a whole.”

“I started as a volunteer 33 years ago working at a crisis center and did that for 27 years,” Ford said. “Through those years, I saw the same women coming in and out of the center, sadly going back to their violent partners. I started The Naomi Project six years ago to give those same women a chance.  A place to get away from a violent situation, sort of like a cool-down period for women and their families to get themselves together and weigh their options for the future.”

Ford went on to emphasize the severity of this problem.

“Boys who witness their father’s violence are ten-times more likely to engage in spousal abuse later in adulthood than boys from non-violent homes,” Ford said.  “I am not trying to scare you, but I want you to arm yourselves with information to make good choices, realize warning signs and protect yourself.”

Ford stressed the importance of recognizing warning signs.

“Information is the key,” Ford said. “At The Naomi Project, we give out checklists to people who ask for help or just need to get educated to prevent this from happening in their lives.”

This checklist gives the definition for and possible causes of abuse and warning signs of a violent relationship.  It also gives safety tips to follow and numbers to call for more information and for help.

For more information on this or if you have more specific questions, please either call The Naomi Project at (843) 615-1548 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.