The faces of survivorship: Domestic Violence Awareness exhibit on show at county court, city hall

CONTRIBUTEDFrom left, YWCA staff members Flory Patterson and Kathy Jackson join Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, Assistant District Attorney Lisa Baehre and First Assistant District Attorney Holly Sloma to view the Domestic Violence Survivors photo exhibit set up at the Niagara County Court House rotunda. The exhibit at the courthouse and Lockport city hall is ongoing through this month. 

The rotunda of the Niagara County Courthouse and the lobby of Lockport city hall have been transformed into art galleries for the month of October, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Twenty-five framed black-and-white photos of domestic violence survivors with accompanying narratives are on display, compliments of the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier.

The display "sends an extremely powerful message to women that you are not alone, anyone can find themselves in a  similar situation and to stop blaming themselves," said Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek. "Each woman's personal story was relatable and, hopefully, encourages other women to seek help."

"I personally plan to bring my 15 year old daughter and her friends to the display to re-enforce the reality that these dynamics can even show up in teenage relationships," Wojtaszek added. 

While October is officially recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness month, the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier is immersed in the awareness campaign year-round.

“The YWCA has provided comprehensive wrap-around services for domestic violence victims for over 30 years,” CEO Kathleen Granchelli said. “From a 24-7 hotline to a comfortable , confidential shelter, the YWCA responds immediately to domestic violence victims and their children.”

In addition to the hotline and shelter, domestic violence survivors may contact the YWCA for free and confidential counseling, safety planning, court advocacy, group counseling and children’s therapeutic counseling. The hotline number is 433-6716.

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