NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Nearly 200 people showed up for an annual march against domestic violence this year at the HUB Teen Center
The march was organized by the New Brunswick Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
A key componenet of the coalition is Women Aware, a domestic violence advocacy center and safe house for women. The organization planned the month-long commemoration to raise awareness to the epidemic of domestic violence, but also to serve as an impetus for togetherness and support within the cause.
Women Aware has been a comprehensive domestic violence support system for over 30 years. In addition to providing counseling, an emergency response team, as well as legal assistance, the organization recently opened a new safe house facility, comprised of independent apartment units that allow for longer stays for victims.
Phyllis Adams, executive director of the non-profit, said the economic downturn was one reason that their shelter has consistently been at full capacity.
"As the economy experiences struggles, incidents of domestic violence increases," Adams said.
"It's not because financial stress causes domestic violence, it's that people who have generally poor coping skills and cope by dominating and controlling others are frustrated with what they have and you'll see more frequent abuse and you'll see it more severely."
Additionally, there are less resources out there. Many non-profits that once partnered with Women Aware are no longer in existence due to lack of funding.
Women Aware, however, is still working to expand their services and raise awareness for their cause. Their efforts in October consisted of various candlelight vigils across Middlesex County, in addition to the rally in New Brunswick.
"[The] candlelight vigil is not only to honor those who have not survived domestic violence but also to honor all of those who have. And we have plenty more people who have survived because of services provided by Women Aware," said Adams.
She added that the group's tagline was "moving beyond abuse," and that they were there to help victims move on.
"We see this movement from the side of hope and that our clients move on from their situations."