MILLEDGEVILLE — The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) started Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the intent to connect battered women's advocates across the nation working to end violence against women and their children.
Coinciding with this awareness month, Baldwin County's In Our Best Interest (IOBI) Domestic Violence program graduated seven women Thursday, Oct. 17.
IOBI is a free 10-class series that elevates self-esteem and counsels local women by empowering them to get help. Meetings are held every other Thursday of each month along with free childcare when attending classes.
One of Baldwin County's Victim Advocates, Linnesia Latimore, said the IOBI program is educational and therapeutic in nature.
“What we try to learn during those 10 classes is what battery means, why it is so powerful, what a healthy relationship is, what an unhealthy relationship is and how domestic violence affects children in the home,” Latimore said. “Every other week we really get a chance to know these ladies. We are very proud of all of our graduates.”
Since its inception, the domestic violence support class has graduated hundreds of women, teaching them the signs of abuse and empowering them to take control of their own lives and circumstances by getting help and getting out of abusive relationships.
IOBI is an entity of the Baldwin County solicitor general's office Project S.A.F.E. program.
Each year the In Our Best Interest (IOBI) group and Project S.A.F.E. help area women and children free themselves from domestic-violence related paths and abuse by providing counseling and resources that put them in touch the with help they need to escape. It may be in the form of legal advocacy, a mentor or just someone to listen.
Several years ago, Solicitor General Maxine Blackwell saw the need after coming face to face with abusers in her office who needed counseling and realizing that little or no resources were available for those victims they abused.