YCC, Women's Center raise domestic violence awareness

Ogden’s Your Community Connection is asking for student donations to help expand its domestic violence shelter. The YCC has been part of Weber State University and the Ogden community for many years. The donations will help pay to expand the center, a necessary upgrade due to a lack of space.

Julee Smith, the executive director at YCC, said the shelter has had to turn people away because of space restrictions.

“In July and August, we turned 80 people away, and our goal is (to) not do this anymore,”  she said. “. . . Right now there are five bedrooms for 26 people. They are literally packed in there.”

The expansion will more than double the number of people the domestic violence shelter can accommodate from 26 clients to 62. This will include a new area specifically for males who are victims of abuse.

“We want them to have space to relax, to heal and to get what they need to gain confidence in themselves,” Smith said.

Domestic violence is defined as the aggressive abuse of a spouse, partner or child. According to statistics from the FBI,  a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States. However, Wendy Henry, the Women’s Center office specialist, said there are other types of domestic violence, and that is “is not just limited to the physical abuse, either.”

Dorothy Hill, a women’s advocate and program specialist for the Women’s Center, outlined different types of abuse.

“Domestic violence is, of course, physical abuse, but a lot of times it can be emotional, verbal, spiritual, sexual and any kind of situation where the victim is being abused or taken advantage of,” she said.

In partnership with YCC, the Women’s Center helps to provide relief for college students who have been or are currently victims of abuse.

“We have an ongoing relationship with Weber State University in regards to making sure the resources are available,”  Smith said.

For October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Center and YCC participate to help raise student awareness about the need for change.

“I think people need to know — awareness is huge,” Smith said, who explained that if a victim has help, he or she will be more likely to seek refuge.

Freshman Adam Vandertorren agreed. “Just being aware of it, being able to know who to call, or what to do if they are put in a situation like this, can help  victims a lot.”

Along with WSU, the YCC will hold its annual Footsteps to Light on Oct. 10. This will begin at YCC and end at the Ben Lomond Hotel with a special guest lecturer.

“The idea is to come out of the darkness and into the light, to see all the good possibilities and the good things that can happen,” Smith said.

To do its part in raising student awareness, the Women’s Center will have an information table in the Shepherd Union Building during October.

“We will have brochures, pamphlets and prizes,” Henry said.

YCC relies on support from the community to succeed. Members of the public can donate money, gently used clothing and household items. The center also encourages students specifically to make hats, gloves, scarves or blankets or do item drives as service projects.

Donations may be dropped off at the YCC warehouse (2261 Adams Ave., Ogden) Monday through  Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students are also encouraged to volunteer. The shelter is in need of volunteers Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I would hope that people would donate because they care about their community, they care about public safety, they care about people’s future, and they want to make sure that everyone has a chance to live life free of violence,” Smith said.