Lavina Clark guest speaker for GFWC Heeko’s 105th Founder’s Day Celebration

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Lavina Clark guest speaker for GFWC Heeko’s 105th Founder’s Day Celebration

Lavina Clark, Director of the Osage Nation Counseling Center, was the guest speaker for GFWC Heeko’s recent 105th Founder’s Day Celebration.

“GFWC Heeko has long been a supporter of promoting domestic violence awareness,” said President Debbie Reed. “Although this was our club’s birthday celebration, we felt it important to talk about this important public issue that affects so many communities and the efforts that are being taken to address this crisis.”

“Domestic violence can take many forms,” said Clark. “These include physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, economic and/or psychological abuse. Domestic abuse affects people of all ages, sexual orientations, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels. Domestic abuse takes place in all kinds of relationships. It is a crime rooted in power and control. Domestic violence is never ‘caused’ by making someone angry or upset. It is never justifiable or excusable, nor is it ever the fault of the survivor. All people deserve to be in healthy and loving relationships – free of violence.”

Clark explained that one in four women reports experiencing domestic violence in her lifetime. Two million injuries and 1,300 deaths are caused each year as a result of domestic violence. Women between the ages of 16-24 are most likely to be victimized by an intimate partner.

Women separated from their intimate partner are most vulnerable to violence, followed by divorced women. Approximately 40-50 percent of physical injuries account for over 110,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms each year. “Only one in five of these victims actually seek professional medical attention,” said Clark. “Domestic violence costs America over $5.8 billion each year for health-related costs; 96% of these victims also experience additional problems at work because of their abuse; and 57 percent U.S. cities cite domestic violence against women and children as the top cause of homelessness.”

Locally, Clark said efforts are underway to educate our community about the dangers of domestic violence, particularly starting with the very young.

“The Osage Nation Counseling Center has partnered with the Osage Nation Prevention Program to bring attention to ‘Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness.’ This is just one of several programs we have developed to combat this plague,” said Clark.

The Teen Dating and Sexual Assault Awareness program was held Feb. 11, at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center and was led by Angela Brown who is Education Coordinator for Domestic Violence Intervention Services. In addition to an informative educational program, participants were treated to pizza and assorted door prizes.

Hostess for GFWC’s Founder’s Day were Arlena Trumbly, Nicki Lorenzo and Debbie Reed.