Erin Carter says events like the one coming up Saturday at Aycock Rec Complex are about more than awareness – it’s a public demonstration of support to show victims and survivors of domestic violence that they aren’t alone in the fight to put an end to what has become all-too-common in society.
Carter and Bretanya Simmons work with Infinite Possibilities, Inc., a place where victims of abuse can go for support and help during a crisis. Carter is a victim’s advocate and Simmons is a court advocate and also works with area youth struggling with domestic violence situations.
The “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event will start at 10 a.m., Carter told John C. Rose on Wednesday’s Town Talk.
“Events like this show our clients that we are all on the same page,” Simmons said. “It’s important for our clients to see us outside our roles sometimes,” she added.
Carter and Simmons are hoping to see lots of like-minded walkers Saturday. “We are hoping for a great turnout,” Carter said, adding that participants just need to show up, sign in to get a number from the information desk and be ready to walk by 10 a.m.
The main office is in Henderson, and Simmons’s office is in Warrenton, right beside the magistrate’s office. Clients often are referred to her when they come in to get restraining orders for partners or spouses, she said. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she saw an uptick in clients. But volume fell, she said, as the pandemic wore on: victims were stuck at home with their abusers, she said, and didn’t have an opportunity to seek help.
“Once the world stopped, and the majority of (people) were working at home, we didn’t see as many coming in – they didn’t get that time they normally would to reach out and get help with their situation,” Simmons said.
Those “situations” aren’t limited to physical abuse, Carter said. “Domestic violence is so much more than just physical abuse,” she added. Just because we don’t see bruises or other physical harm, doesn’t mean it’s not domestic violence, she said. There’s emotional abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, as well as cyber bullying.
“That’s why education is so important,” Carter explained. “If we are educated, then we can help someone else.” Being able to create a conversation with someone you suspect may be a victim of domestic violence can be the first step to getting help for that person. “Create a conversation – not a coercive conversation, but an empathetic conversation, a gentle conversation…to provide information, could go a long way to help someone,” she said.
The Infinite Possibilities hotline is 252.425.2492. Learn more at infinitepossibiltiesinc.net or find them on Facebook.