2009-10-31 / Potter County News

Victims of domestic violence remembered

David Shalkowski reads a memorial to his sister, Cheri Baker, a victim of domestic violence, during Monday night’s service. Among those attending was Rosie Krammes (left) from A Way Out, Potter County’s domestic violence and sexual assault victims’ advocacy organization. David Shalkowski reads a memorial to his sister, Cheri Baker, a victim of domestic violence, during Monday night’s service. Among those attending was Rosie Krammes (left) from A Way Out, Potter County’s domestic violence and sexual assault victims’ advocacy organization. A candlelight ceremony in memory of victims highlighted this week’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month observance, held at the Coudersport Arboretum.

David Shalkowski brought the service to a poignant conclusion with a personal remembrance of his sister, Cheri (Shalkowski) Baker, who was killed last year in a domestic violence incident at her Roulette home.

A Way Out, Potter County’s domestic violence/sexual assault victims’ assistance agency, sponsored Monday’s observance. It was held beside an Arboretum bench that is dedicated to domestic violence victims and the mission of A Way Out. Representing Potter County were Commissioner Paul Heimel and Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Christie Steiner.

Freda Fultz, executive director of A Way Out, discussed the background of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and some of the myths that surround the problem. She noted that economic stresses and other social issues have put more victims or potential victims at greater risk.

Using a “They Say/We Say” theme, she exposed society’s reluctance to recognize the gravity of domestic violence and the plight of many victims who feel powerless as a result of fear, low self-esteem or economic limitations.

“Domestic violence occurs in all communities,” Fultz pointed out. “It cuts across all levels of income and education . . . In too many cases, the victims continue to suffer because they are afraid to ask for help and, instead, they just stay.”

Help is available, Fultz emphasized. A Way Out can be contacted at its office on East Third Street in Coudersport, telephone 274-0368 or 1-877-334-3136.

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