published Monday, June 10th, 2013

Program walks people through steps of abuse

IF YOU GO

What: "In Her Shoes" walk-through program

When: June 20, every two hours from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Where: First Baptist Church, 231 Third Ave., Dayton, Tenn.

Admission: Free

Information: Call Samantha Crisp at 423-775-4514 or email her at samantha.crisp@charter.net.

DAYTON, Tenn. — Increasing awareness of domestic violence in Rhea County is one group's goal for its upcoming program, "In Her Shoes."

"I want to reach as many people [as possible]," said Samantha Crisp, executive director of the Rhea County Domestic Violence Council.

The council organized the free walk-through program, depicting more than 10 realistic steps an abused person might experience, from acknowledging abuse to finding help. The walk-through program will last about 90 minutes and includes a debriefing of the case scenarios by its participants, Crisp said.

She said it is difficult for abused people to know how to navigate those steps, especially when faced with the disorientation that accompanies the trauma.

"I want everyone to go through the experience," she said, to gain a better perspective about others' plight in order "to combat it hands-on."

Each participant, Crisp said, will receive a case card at the "Abuse Happens" table and proceed toward "Going Back Home" to counseling or courtroom settings.

Christine Ralph, executive director of the Rhea County United Way, which provides financial support to the domestic violence council, said "each of us working with the public will benefit from this experience. It's an eye-opener."

Crisp said she was particularly pleased by the active participation from Dayton First Baptist Church. In previous years, many church leaders haven't wanted to acknowledge domestic violence in their congregations, she said.

First Baptist pastor Milton Knox said he offered the church to host the program in light of the increasing number of court case participants he has counseled in the past 24 years.

"Truth is light, and once it's exposed" change will occur, Knox said.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424 @bellsouth.net.

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