Lancaster – Human Services Technology Program Campus Coordinator Lisa Skeens is calling last week's Domestic Violence Walk on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus a success. It was the first of its kind on campus and she hopes to make it a yearly event.
"The goal of the walk was to raise awareness about a problem in our community and I think we did that," said Skeens.
On Thursday, October 25, about 40 people took part in the "Walk a Mile in Their Shoes" walk along the Lancaster bike path near campus. The event came two days after three people died in a domestic violence-related shooting in Lancaster.Money raised during the walk went to a domestic violence shelter in Lancaster.
"I do think we had a larger group from the community take part in the walk than what we thought.Definitely more than 15 or 20 people walked for the victims, if not more," said Skeens. "So, we were very blessed to be able to offer that to them, but the timing was very sad and ironic as well."
Skeens said domestic violence is more of a problem in the Lancaster and Fairfield County communities than many realize. She said domestic violence is something that is more prevalent in areas where there are other social issues.
"I know it touches our campus with students and various people and I know we've had a lot of discussions at various human services agencies that this is occurring," said Skeens."I think we have some other complications in this area such as high levels of substance abuse and addiction, which also coordinates with the problems sometimes of domestic violence.We also have, like a lot of counties in Ohio and the country, a higher level of unemployment which is also connected with higher levels of domestic violence and child abuse."
Students in the Human Services Technology program study domestic violence issues as well as substance abuse and addiction. Skeens said many of the students want to be counselors. She said the interest in the program has grown in recent years and she thinks it's because of the prescription drug abuse problem the community is grappling with and all the other issues, like increased domestic violence, that come with it.
"When I first came in 2009/2010, we only had 10 people in our major but we now have about 80 people," said Skeens.
Skeens said the walk raised about $200 for the Lighthouse Shelter.