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Events draw attention, funds for domestic violence organization

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON, STAFF WRITER

 

“No one hits or beats someone for no reason,” Vicky Lingerfelt, executive director of Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said.

Lingerfelt knows domestic violence is not just a worldwide problem but also a local issue affecting the emotional and/or physical lives of area residents on a daily basis.

She was more than happy to see citizens come out and support Amy’s House last month at two local eateries in honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness month and hoped the events greatly increased the Lincoln County community’s awareness of domestic abuse.

On Oct. 23, Lincolnton’s own Zippers Restaurant and The Homeplace Restaurant donated 10 percent of all meals sold to the shelter. The fundraisers resulted in a total of more than $1,000, Lingerfelt said. Zippers raised $900, and The Homeplace donated $500.

Amy’s House has been recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness month since 1987, and for the last decade, has advertised its services on a banner displayed at Zippers. Lingerfelt noted that a domestic violence survivor created the banner.

Shelter officials recognize that, often times, domestic abuse goes unnoticed or is labeled “a family problem.”

“People don’t want to get involved … they are afraid the abuser will come after them, or they judge against the victim, saying that she must have done something to deserve it,” Lingerfelt said.

In addition, the victim is not the only person affected by the violence. Rather, everyone who knows the victim is influenced in some way, authorities said. In a majority of cases, the abuse is so intense that victims feel there is no breaking free from their traumatic circumstances.

“Women stay in abusive homes for reasons ranging from love to terror,” Lingerfelt said.

Since 1995, when Amy’s House officially opened in Lincoln County, shelter officials said they have aided more than 10,000 abuse victims including both women and men. In 2010, the shelter housed 285 women, 218 children, and even relocated eight men who were in domestic violence situations.

Amy’s House offers a variety of free services in addition to shelter including court advocacy, legal assistance, housing assistance, community education and support groups, among others.

To contact the shelter’s 24/7 help-crisis line, call 704-736-1224. Vicky Lingerfelt can be reached via email at

vlingerfelt@charter.net.

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