Law enforcement officers across Delaware County respond to multiple domestic violence calls every day. Sheriff Russ Martin reports that calls to domestic incidents are second only to theft offenses.
Because of the private nature of domestic violence, it is believed to be woefully under-reported. Unfortunately, Delaware County remains the largest county in Ohio without a domestic violence shelter. That must end!
When a very public tragedy occurs, Americans tend to respond with speed and generosity. But the tragedies that happen due to domestic violence are not often public, so we as a community remain unaware.
As a resident of Delaware County, I know our community would pull together and make a miracle happen if they were aware of this quiet threat and knew what they could do.
There is an outstanding domestic violence shelter in Marion county called Turning Point, which for decades has quietly and effectively served the surrounding six counties, including Delaware County. Unfortunately, the population growth in our area has made it very difficult for one facility to adequately manage the great need.
The leadership of Turning Point, along with Delaware County community leaders, have determined there is an immediate need to build a domestic violence shelter in Delaware County.
As a first step, many groups and individuals have committed to raising the needed $3.1 million.
Recently, the Nationwide Foundation made a $400,000 grant to ‘Turning Point’ for this new shelter. This grant, coupled with donations from other groups (United Way of Delaware County, Women’s Leadership Network) and individuals has put us on a path to success.
Recently, my wife and I visited Turning Point in Marion and witnessed first hand the tragedy that is quietly all around us. The trauma impacts not only the victims, but also their children.
We saw people who have no hope who find hope at Turning Point. We saw how individuals and small businesses can come together as volunteers and create a shelter that helps put people’s lives back together.
We saw dedicated staff and counselors work for much less money than they could make elsewhere because they care.
It’s time we bring domestic violence out of the shadows and turn whispers into shouts. No one should live in fear in our county. We need to speak out against domestic violence and sex trafficking. We must not relegate these victims to the darkness.
I’m asking every citizen in our county to speak out against domestic violence, watch out for domestic violence, report it, and reach out to Turning Point. Let’s build and sustain a shelter right here in Delaware County.
The land is bought, the buildings are ready for renovation, so all we need is you. It’s time to say ‘Not in our county!’
For information about the shelter, visit http://turningpoint6.org/delaware-shelter/ or look up Turning Point Marion Ohio and click on Delaware Shelter Campaign.
Mark Pizzi Is President and COO at Nationwide Insurance and a resident of Delaware County.