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Letters

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Understanding domestic

violence

For the past seven years I have been an advocate for domestic violence services and I have been in awe of the outstanding community support given to the domestic violence services by churches, businesses, law enforcement and the people of Bedford City and Bedford County. I believe the stories of how the staff of BDVS and the community of Bedford as well as surrounding communities have helped women and their children need to be told.

The first question I get asked by family and friends is why do abused individuals stay in the relationship? My response to that question is like the scenario of employment. You are working in a dead end job. You ask yourself should you stay while you look for another job, or just quit. This job you are in does have benefits like insurance, vacation pay, job title and of course this job enables you to have money to pay the bills.

If you leave that job you might not get another job. You might need to go back to school. Can someone baby-sit for you if you need him or her to? If you cannot get anther job you will find yourself trying to get your old job back. Wishing you had never left in the first place.

So the same scenario is with a bad relationship. You leave only to come back. An individual feels that they cannot provide for their family, they cannot find affordable housing, employment and health insurance. The director of BDVS told me this story years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.

Did you know that a woman would consider entering a shelter ten times? On the tenth time she will seek shelter. In 2006 despite the fact that Domestic Violence Service providers are committed to providing shelter for every victim who is in danger, 1,898 families in Virginia who sought shelter had to be turned away because no bed was available. 3,150 children and 3,645 adults were able to find safety in a shelter. In 2007, 81% of domestic violence victims were given shelter. A shelter is a critical public safety service.

The Bedford community should not forget that they have a shelter where the victims of domestic violence can be sheltered. At the shelter rebuilding lives whether it be seeking employment, helping with job interviews, helping to obtain money management skills, or getting assistance through social services is one of the many that the staff does in order to prepare each family for a violence free life.

Bedford Domestic Violence Services provides a confidential 24-hour hotline number that is (587-0970) to access support, information and support for women, men and children who are victims of domestic violence. All the services are provided without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or income. We recognize and respond to the community’s different needs and promote protocols and practices throughout the community to help reduce physical and psychological trauma due to violence.

A lack of understanding about domestic violence leads to blaming the victim for the violence, accusations of lying and down playing the violence leads to misguided loyalties between family members and friends.

If an individual has been going through trauma and comes into our office, they will see a compassionate staff that will provide confidentiality, understanding and knowledge for each victimized individual.

The Bedford Domestic Violence Services staff members available resource information. Victims that seek out our services will find our Victim Service Coordinator a non-judgmental person who encourages one to be a better person with education and safety, our DV Walk-in counselor a person that provides insight and knowledge to difficult situations that arise in victims’ lives, our Court Advocate to be a person of compassion who raises the level of awareness for legal protection and the Director of Bedford Domestic Violence Services to be a strong committed individual who empowers victims of domestic violence by encouraging them to recognize their inner strength and ability.

Each person has the responsibility of the prevention of domestic violence across the state and worldwide. Let all of us be sure to empower the victims of domestic violence and keep all the issues of violence against women and children on the public agenda.

Debbie Williamson

Shelter Manager

Bedford

Months of

planning up in flames

Its hard to believe that another fireworks fundraiser has come and gone, and twelve months of planning went up in flames in just 20 minutes of blazing glory. Thankfully, this year’s fundraising event at Parkway Marina for the Saunders Volunteer Fire Company drew the largest attendance yet — about 4, 000 people!

I’d like to personally thank the members of the Saunders Vol. Fire Co. for volunteering hundreds, if not thousands, of man-hours so that tens of thousands of people can continue to enjoy this annual fireworks display at Smith Mountain Lake. Without their hard-work, this ever-more popular event simply would not be possible.

This event is first and foremost a fundraiser for the fire company. If you enjoy the fireworks, and want to help keep the annual tradition going, please donate to the fire company. You can donate online at SMLFireworks.org, or, if you prefer, you can also donate by mail at PO Box 14, Huddleston, VA 24104. 100% of these donations go directly to the fire company, and are tax-deductible.

Donations have not kept pace with the growing burden of the event, particularly the cost of the fireworks. This was a significant factor in holding the fundraiser on the 5th, as it lowered the burden on the fire company in a number of ways.

In fact, the display almost did not occur this year. Yet, we know that people love the fireworks and would be very upset if they were discontinued. It has become a major draw to the lake, and is often referenced in marketing materials placed by various lake businesses and organizations.

Therefore, the fire company re-doubled its efforts to raise awareness of the fundraising aspect of the fireworks — taking out television, radio, newspaper promotions in addition to traditional, grass-roots promotions. If each person that watched this event donated just $1, the fire company would not have to worry about when, or even if, to present the display next year.

I’d especially like to thank those who have donated and otherwise supported the fire company, such as the Virginia Defense Force, Buzzy Coleman, Will and Laurie Dillon of the SMLPBA, Jack and Doris Balzarini, Susan Martin of the Bedford Chamber and Vicky Gardner of the SML Chamber, and the family and friends of the fire company. Some of our sponsors included: WSET, BOB-FM, Coleman-Adams Construction, Davenport & Co, Glenwood Sunoco, Jeff Snyder Graphic Design, Laker Media, Smith Mountain Eagle and White House Corner Store. For a complete list of event sponsors, please visit SMLFireworks.org. You can also see videos of the fireworks and learn more about the event at SMLFireworks.org.

Jeff Graff

Event Chairman

Candidate manipulates newspapers

Dismay is the best description of how I felt when I picked up your June 25th issue and saw the article - on the front page – featuring Congressman Virgil Goode’s opponent and his staff who spent four hours “volunteering” at the Domestic Violence Services office. Nice angle. At the risk of sounding cynical, I believe it would have taken more than a couple of dollars out of the campaign coffers to get that kind of publicity, but you aren’t the only newspaper he has been able to manipulate.

In contrast, I was a volunteer at a golf tournament last fall in which the committee, through the Tournament and a Fund Drive, raised over $20,000 for the Bedford Domestic Violence Services program. I saw on tournament day that the SML Republican Women had contributed $500 and Congressman Goode had contributed $200 to the cause, and while you did publish a decent article, it appeared in the back pages of the paper. As I recall the Republican Women were mentioned, but Congressman Goode received no credit and I’m told he didn’t ask for any. A giver and a hard-working representative of his constituents who doesn’t crave publicity. Other Districts should be so lucky.

Paul F. Greier

Huddleston

Insinuation was offensive

Mrs. James B. Toms:

There is no correlation between tattoos and drugs.

That is the most ridiculous and idiotic statement I have read all day. I have tattoos — One of them says “Family”, and the other says “Friends” — they are my favorite and mean something to me. And no, I don’t do drugs — I don’t even like taking Aspirin unless absolutely necessary. I am not a drug-addict, and don’t like your insinuation.

Jason Hatcher

Bedford

Theft leaves child heartbroken

I am writing this letter to address the person who stole my son’s bicycle out of the yard at 402 Crenshaw St. on the Fourth of July. I would like for you to know the child that you stole from.

Christopher is 8 years old and the most loving child you will ever meet. He has never met a person he did not like and even when people tease him he still wants to be their friend.

Christopher has been overweight since he was a small child and has a hard time learning to ride his bike. But he had finally learned how to pedal it and was really enjoying riding with his brother and sister. He was heartbroken on July 5th when he went looking for his bike and it was gone.

I know you are thinking, well they can buy him a new bike. Well my friend I wish it were that easy. Believe me when I tell you if it were that easy he would already have a new one but my husband and I are not in the position to just run out and buy new bikes

Whoever got the bike will probably never see this letter but on the off chance that you do maybe you could do the right thing and bring the bike back or maybe you needed it more then Christopher and if that is the case you should get lots of use out of it, it was a very nice bike and had not been used very much. As I said he had a really hard time learning to ride it. I hope that if you really needed it, it gets you where you need to go but if you just wanted to ride it please bring it back and not just dump it somewhere when you are tired of it.

Christopher and Tammy Johnston

Bedford

First and Second Amendments being eroded

The July 2, 2008 issue of the Bulletin contained several articles that showed how various individuals interpret the “rights” given to Americans through our Constitution. I found it interesting to see how differently we all interpret these Constitutional rights.

The first such interpretation came from the front-page article about Mike Brown and his celebrity posse. It appears that Mr. Brown (et al) interprets the First Amendment (freedom of speech) to apply only if it suits a certain definition of appropriate. Mr. Brown is certainly not alone in his interpretation of this right. Almost daily there are news stories about someone getting in trouble for speaking their mind because they were not “politically correct”. I doubt our founding fathers would agree with this skewed interpretation of that Amendment.

The Opinion section was loaded with examples of Constitutional “rights” interpretations, starting with the Editorial discussion of the Second Amendment which “allows” citizens to bear arms. I strongly agree with the editor that the Second Amendment was written with the intention of allowing each and every one of us the right to chose to own weapons. There seems to be more effort spent at keeping guns out of the hands of honest citizens than there is at keeping guns out of the hands of those who are not so honest. I have no doubt the assault on the Second Amendment will continue regardless of the latest Supreme Court ruling.

Moving on to the letters, we are told that apparently one’s freedom of speech is only applicable if that freedom is practiced randomly and not through any planned activity. Because some students chose, as a group, to display the Confederate flag on the last day of school their action apparently shouldn’t qualify as using their Constitutional freedom of speech. The writer admonishes us to remember the Golden Rule and act accordingly. Personally, I would love for everyone to remember the First Amendment which allows each of us the right to say whatever we wish, whether it offends someone else or not. I don’t always enjoy listening to someone who has a radically different opinion from mine, but I certainly acknowledge his right to have and state that opinion!

The First Amendment (freedom of speech) and Second Amendment (right to bear arms) are being eroded daily such that they seem to have almost been repealed. There has never been a popular vote regarding the “limits” of these two amendments. Why are we allowing the media and the court system to impose limits on these rights?

There was another reference to free speech in relation to the Broadcasters Freedom Act, but as of this writing, I am not exactly sure whether the writer was indicating that there were freedoms being lost or gained by voicing agreement with or displeasure with whatever it was that was being described. Personally I believe that the networks are allowed too much freedom in forcing down people’s throats their views and desires and perhaps it is time to limit the amount of political influence they mete out in the name of Freedom of the Press.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Dennis Strong

Thaxton