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Crisis intervention, Commission for Women team up

By KATIE FITZPATRICK

Staff writer

Domestic violence, which is believed to affect one in three women in their lifetime, is one of the least reported crimes.

David Gale, director of the Crisis Intervention Center, said in Calvert County there are about more than 400 protective orders filed in court and the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes about 400-plus cases of domestic violence every year.

Domestic violence is something that affects so many families, Gale said, and it’s also something that is very preventable.

“Many victims of domestic violence, for different reasons, it may seem like normal behavior to them if they’ve been raised in a family with a lot of abuse,” he said. “Violence may seem normal. … There’s a lot of education we need to do with the community to let them know that this is not normal behavior, that this is abusive and criminal behavior, and that there are remedies for this.”

The center, in partnership with the Calvert County Commission for Women, is hosting several initiatives to raise awareness about domestic violence throughout October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In various locations throughout the county, residents will see T-shirts with messages from victims of domestic violence displayed as part of the Clothesline Project, according to a press release.

Gale said the CIC has been involved with the clothesline project, which was started in Massachusetts in 1999, for a number of years. He said doing laundry often was “seen as women’s work” and it was an opportunity for women to “talk over their clotheslines.” The idea for the clothesline project stemmed from this, he said, to allow women to “express their victimization of domestic violence by putting messages on T-shirts.”

Gale said both women and children paint messages on the T-shirts, which are then taken to various locations throughout the county and strung up to look like they are hanging on a clothesline.

“You can go to any of these places and look at the messages people have put on the shirts, and they’re very poignant messages,” he said.

Locations for the Clothesline Project include College of Southern Maryland, Calvert County Health Department, Calvert County Library Prince Frederick and Southern branches, Calvert County Circuit Courthouse lobby and the second floor of the Calvert County District Courthouse.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 22, Gale said, the annual domestic violence vigil will be held in the courtyard of the Calvert County Circuit Courthouse. Those who suffer from domestic violence and, “particularly,” those who have died from domestic violence are remembered during that time, Gale said. Last year, the vigil was held to remember the Hayward family, and this year, Amanda Foster will be remembered, he said.

Last year, Frank Hayward Jr., 32, killed his wife, Cynthia, 31, and their 2-year-old daughter, Natalee, before taking his own life. The couple’s then-12-year-old son, Frank Hayward III, was found alive and was hospitalized for cuts to his neck and burns.

In January, 27-year-old Amanda Lynn Foster was murdered by her boyfriend, John Warren Gibson. Her body was wrapped in blankets and put in a large blue trash can, which was then taken by Gibson to a property across from his parents’ home in St. Mary’s County.

After a short memorial service, Gale said various speakers will talk about their experiences with domestic violence and several people and organizations will be honored for their efforts to eliminate domestic violence. The public is welcome to attend, Gale said.

On Oct. 26, the CIC and Commission for Women will host “In Our Own Voice — Personal Perspectives on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Healing and Recovery.” The event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick Branch.

The Calvert County Crisis Intervention Center provides short- and long-term counseling to domestic violence and sexual assault adult and child victims and their families, according to a press release. It also sponsors an abuser intervention program for abusive partners. Contact the Crisis Intervention Center at 410-535-1121 for more information.

The Calvert County Commission for Women is the county’s volunteer agency charged with developing opportunities for women and children; eliminating barriers that prevent women from realizing their full potential; and giving recognition to the contributions of women in Calvert County, the press release states. For more information, email calvertwomen@gmail.com.

kfitzpatrick@somdnews.com