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National Domestic Violence Awareness Tour Stops in Cortland

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A national organization committed to raising awareness about domestic violence made a stop in Cortland last night.

The break the silence national tour is working to bring attention to domestic abuse and to empower victims and survivors.

The group, along with representatives of Family Counseling Services, YWCA of Cortland, SUNY Cortland, and the Cortland County District Attorney’s Office held a forum last night to talk about domestic abuse and screen the film, “The Return of Social Change.”

The film features survivors of domestic violence who share their stories and offer advice in hopes to inspire viewers and educated on the severity of the issue.

According to Break the Silence founder Kristen Paruginog, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will become a victim of domestic violence in his or her lifetime.

Paruginog says domestic abuse is not just limited to mature or married couples. Domestic abuse impacts a large number of young people as well.

Thursdays session also focused on domestic abuse in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community. A 2014 survey found that 21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with a same-sex partner experienced intimate partner physical violence in their lifetimes. Transgender respondents had an incidence of 34.6 percent over a lifetime according to the survey.

Leah Calzolaio, who heads up the Cortland LGBT Resource Center, says because of stigmas LGBT individuals are more likely to suffer in silence.

Linda Shutts with the Cortland YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence program says so far this year her office has fielded 160 domestic violence cases and 900 calls to their hotline.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or know someone in an unhealthy relationship call Aid to Victims of Violence at 756-6363. Calls are kept confidential.

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