LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and a local organization is reminding victims that they are not alone.
Marie Detty New Directions provides services to victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. They offer case management, counseling, court advocacy, legal aid, and shelter services. The program director, Kerrie Mathews, said they focus on getting the word out in the community that help is available.
“You yourself may not need services, but you may come across someone, or know someone that needs services and they don’t know where to turn, and often time because of the isolation and the controlling that goes on within these relationships, you feel like you are all alone, and so like I said before, you may not need it right now, but what if you need it in the future," said Mathews.
She said they also offer a pet shelter on site and have a partnership with Lawton Animal Welfare.
“There’s a few breeds that we’re not allowed to take, so if we get a pet that we can’t take in, then they will house it for us there," said Mathews. So it’s been a really great thing, and we’ve seen an increase in people who wouldn’t have come in first off, coming into the shelter.”
She said it’s nice to watch someone become stronger, more empowered, and able to make their own choices. That’s why they use the butterfly as their symbol.
“You watch somebody come in and they transform into the person they were before, or an entirely different person to where they’re like I can do this, I can make it on my own," said Mathews. " It’s hard, and it’s scary, but we still support them once there even in shelter and leave shelter, they always have us to depend on to.”
Mathews said everything they do is free. They also accept donations for the shelter and pet shelter on the first and third Thursday each month. They offer a 24/7 hotline for people to speak with an advocate. The number is 580-357-2500. Their next event is Domestic Violence Awareness Trunk or Treat. This will take place October 25th from 5-8 P.M. in the Howell Hall parking lot at Cameron University. They’re asking people to wear purple for Domestic Violence Awareness month.