benefit seeks to raise funds, awareness of available domestic abuse services

Domestic abuse often is treated as a taboo subject and not something the general public likes to admit exists, says Molly Scheetz, development marketing officer at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland.

This reluctance makes events like the organization's January 5 benefit at Negative Space Gallery vitally important in reaching out to victims of abuse. Funds procured at the gallery will be put toward programming that aids Cuyahoga County residents suffering in-home violence and other forms of mistreatment.

"We'll be grateful for whatever is raised," says Scheetz.

Awareness of the center's programming is just as important as funding, Scheetz believes. The community should know of the variety of services available to teens, adults and families, including:  An education component bringing knowledge about teen dating violence to local schools; a 24-hour family helpline fielding crisis calls and offering referrals for abuse resources; and a shelter available for victims of domestic violence and their children.

"Anytime people can become more educated about the services we provide, it's a good thing," Scheetz says.

The center is working to overcome its own challenges these days. The nonprofit is the result of a merger that took place earlier this year between Bellflower Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and the Domestic Violence Center.

The transition has been fairly seamless, and the organization will continue to shed light on violence shuttered behind closed doors. "We have to acknowledge problems in order to reach solutions," says Scheetz.
SOURCE: Molly Scheetz
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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