YWCA Wheeling Ringing Bells for Domestic Violence Awareness

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. — Chimes are going off 24 times in this town. 24 is for the 24 people facing domestic violence… every minute.

“It takes all of us to step in … to try to make a difference… it’s a crime, and it normally happens behind closed doors.”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

All over, church bells rang yesterday afternoon in Wheeling. Just a little reminder from the Wheeling Young Women’s Christian Associates.

“You are not alone..”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

The Wheeling YWCA has been doing this for a while… helping anyone facing domestic violence. But it’s seeing a lot more calls coming in, all the while there’s a pandemic.

“It’s very saddening that today in our world… 2020… that we are still experiencing the high rates.”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

Just getting calls from people looking for safe shelter is up by 69%. Even in our rural communities, calls are up by 38%.

That’s from March to September this year compared to that same time phase last year. And this is just in our area.

Flanigan’s talking about Ohio, Marshall, and Wetzel counties.

But, Flanigan says, even more cases are out there.

“We’re not even touching the tip of the iceberg. Because we’re only talking about the people reaching out for help. There’s a lot of people who don’t reach out for help because they are afraid to. I hope that anyone watching this will call.”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

But there’s the signs you could catch… Even early on in a relationship.

“It’s a gradual thing. It’s escalates. Once it gets to that point, it’s not going backwards.”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

Flanigan says it’s not the hitting or grabbing you’ll see right away. But if you’re quickly moving into a relationship, she says that’s a big red flag. If you’re changing the way you look just to make your partner happy, that’s also a sign. Other signs include isolation, or if you see someone looking downward.

If you see something like this, Flangian says call.

“Call somebody… Just call and talk… That’s a first steps of it.”

Patrica Flanigan, Family Violence Prevention Director of the Wheeling YWCA

If you think you or someone else you know is facing domestic violence, you can call (800) 968-1247

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