Citizens link hands to end abuse

Hands Around The Courthouse

by: Photo By Susan Matheny - Citizens gathered to form a hand-holding chain around the Jefferson County Courthouse last Thursday in support of efforts to end child abuse and sexual violence.

   As a visual statement, some 50 citizens and helping-agency employees gathered to hold hands around the courthouse on April 3, to show support for efforts to end child abuse and sexual violence.
   Organized by Cindy Hess-Mondoy and Carino Bautista of Saving Grace, the Hands Around the Courthouse event offered blue ribbons to wear during April, child abuse and sexual violence prevention month, and invited participants to sign a statewide prevention pledge, which hopes to gather 10,000 signatures.
   "We hope this visual show of support brings awareness to the community," Bautista said, noting the courthouse was chosen because it provides a sense of justice.
   She reminded people prevention of child abuse and sexual violence was "Not just for today or the month of April, but something you need to do everyday."
   Child Welfare manager Roy Jackson spoke, saying there were many things people could do to prevent child abuse. "Listen to kids, report abuse, babysit for parents who need a break," he suggested.
   Mark Matthews, from Warm Springs Victims of Crime Services, noted, "Sexual assaults are crimes of power and it's common for the perpetrator to blame the victim," but it is never the victim's fault.
   Other awareness events this month include a parade with the theme "Jungle Animals" and children's activities in Sahalee Park at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 26, and a free training April 26 to May 17, for those interested in volunteering at the Saving Grace office in Madras. Call Kellie at 504-2550 for details.