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Domestic violence awareness
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Dear Editor: I was very saddened to read the headlines of Wednesday's Covington News regarding domestic violence in one of our local families. However, if you take the time to read the jail log each week, you will find that many families in our community experience family violence in their homes. When I was raising my daughter in Newton County in the 1970s, every weekend we had a neighbor who would beat his wife. It would begin inside their home and end up in outside. I didn't know what to do, but I never forgot it. After working in a law firm for 25 years and educating myself about family violence, I was given the opportunity to do something. For the last seven years, after taking the job as director of Project ReNeWal, I have attempted to educate our community about the affects of domestic violence on our families and our county. One in three women experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That number is derived from those who report violence in their homes which is only a small percentage of the actual number.

Project ReNeWal is the local domestic violence shelter that assists residents of Rockdale, Newton and Walton Counties who find themselves involved in family violence. The goal of Project ReNeWal is to provide the support and services necessary to enable individuals and families to remove themselves from violent homes. In the last year Project ReNeWal provided over 3,600 individuals with over 21,000 services. In addition to that number, we provided safe shelter to 405 others who were in immediate danger and could not return home. We were introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate as one of the best shelters in the state in 2008. Our shelter could not provide these quality services without the help of local law enforcement, hospitals, mental health, churches and individual citizens.

This problem is out of control and it will take all of us to slow it down.

One of our main efforts in our community is to educate individuals about family violence. This effort is addressed in our facility providing confidential group and individual counseling. This counseling is not only provided in our facility, it is offered weekly in all three of our county services areas. In Newton County that group is held at Solid Rock Baptist Church on Thursday evenings.
It is free to people who find themselves in a domestic violence situation. A 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis line (770) 860-1666) is also available to assist anyone who needs confidential help.

October is domestic violence awareness month. I urge every citizen of Newton County to learn about the shelter and what you can do to help someone who is in a domestic violence situation. Someday you will need to know because violence will touch all of our lives eventually. Even though family violence is something that we attempt to keep quite, it will eventually show its ugly head.

Please feel free to contact me at (770) 860-9770 if you have questions about our facility or would like to make a donation to help us to continue to provide quality confidential services to individuals and families who find themselves in violent homes. It is an investment in our families and our community that we cannot overlook!