Slight increase in domestic violence victims seeking shelter

By Cristina Rendon

Published 10/16 2013 09:05PM

Updated 10/16 2013 09:07PM

White flags line 400 S. in Salt Lake City bringing awareness to domestic violence in Utah.
White flags line 400 S. in Salt Lake City bringing awareness to domestic violence in Utah.
MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – YWCA Utah planted 3,125 flags in front of a Smith’s grocery store Wednesday, each one representing a person sought shelter from domestic violence last year.

The flags are on display outside the Smith’s grocery store at 845 East and 4500 South in Murray.

Amberlie Phillips with YWCA Utah said the white flag display is part of their annual “Week Without Violence” campaign. The events are meant to provoke thoughtful discussion, to educate, and to remember those who lives have been affected by violence.

“Domestic violence is such an invasion of space where you are supposed to be safe and white just represents peace and we just want that for everyone,” she said.

Phillips said there was a slight increase in Utah victims seeking shelter at YWCA statewide compared to the 2012 report. In the 2012 report, 3,114 people sought shelter. In the 2013 report, 3,125 people sought shelter.

That number does not include the many other victims who choose to stay silent or seek help through friends or family.

“At the heart of domestic violence, it’s all about power and control,” she said. “That control manifests itself in different ways.”

Violence isn’t just physical abuse. It can be mental, emotional or through a form of financial control. It’s why Smith’s is supporting the fight against abuse.

“It’s my belief that when women are undergoing domestic violence, they may choose to go somewhere where there are a lot of other people around and the safety and familiarity of a grocery store may be exactly what they're seeking,” Marsha Gilford, Spokeswoman for Smith’s, said.

The flags are a wake-up call to others, while honoring the lives lost because of domestic violence.

“Violence is never an acceptable way to live your life,” Phillips added.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence support is available at the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center at 344 East 300 South in Salt Lake. Click here for more information.

For a 24 hour crisis hotline, call 1-801-537-8600 or 1-855-992-2752.

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