Library Partnership holding abuse program


Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.

If you're in an abusive relationship and feel hopeless with no one to turn to, don't despair because there is help available at the Empowered to Live the Life You Choose community outreach program at Library Partnership.

Facts

DOMESTIC ABUSE PROGRAM

What: “Empowered to Live the Life You Choose,” a domestic abuse prevention program.
When: 9 a.m.- noon Tuesday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, and the second Tuesday and Wednesday of the month thereafter.
Where: Library Partnership and Neighborhood Resource Center, 1130 NE 16th Ave.
Cost: Free.
Information: Call 352-393-7685.

"I'm here (Library Partnership) to talk about domestic violence," said Tracey Hickmon, coordinator for the Rebuilding Community Outreach program, which is a collaboration between the Black on Black Crime Task Force and the Gainesville Police Department.

Hickmon said she is available from 9 a.m. - noon Tuesday and from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Wednesday, and on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of the month thereafter in the lobby of the Library Partnership, 1130 NE 16th Ave.

Caressa Hutchinson, manager of the Neighborhood Resource Center, said people can just show up and meet individually with Hickmon to discuss concerns.

"I think this is an amazing program," Hutchinson said. "It's important for people to have resources they can easily tap into when they have a crisis in their lives."

Hickmon said the program strives to help people identify domestic abuse, recognize and overcome obstacles and break away from an abusive relationship. They also receive information about services and resources available in the community.

"We want to bring awareness about domestic violence and the stumbling blocks that keep us from living the life we choose," Hickmon said.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, domestic violence consists of a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power or control over an intimate partner. The abuse can include physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats used to frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt or wound someone.

Hickmon said someone who has grown up in a hostile environment may not be able to identify domestic abuse because for him or her it's normal.

Hickmon said domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. She said it affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

At Library Partnership, Hickmon said she sits in the lobby and tries to engage people by asking them if they're living the life they choose and whether they're in a healthy relationship. She said some people want to talk while others avoid eye contact but may come back to talk to her another time. She said some people discuss domestic abuse they're experiencing or talk about someone they know who is in an abusive relationship. She said everyone is offered an opportunity to participate in the 10-week "Empowered to Live the Life You Choose" program, which is designed to bring awareness to the obstacles domestic abuse victims face in their journey to freedom. She said the obstacles include denial, fear, guilt/rejection, and anger/hostility. She said they work through obstacles at their own pace and receive support to overcome whatever hinders them so they can live the life they choose.

"Domestic abuse is a big hidden problem in our community," said Hickmon, adding for the most part domestic abuse victims are women of all ages. She said in her four-years coordinating the program, there have been only three male victims of domestic abuse.

"We want to be in a relationship because we want to be loved, supported, cared for and nurtured," Hickmon said. "Our home shouldn't be a place where we're belittled and hurt. Our home should be the love home, a place where we can go to rebuild."

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