In West Virginia, Women's Aid in Crisis Inc. offers extensive assistance of victims of sexual and domestic violence.
According to national statistics, 1 in 4 women will be beaten or raped by their partner during adulthood. In West Virginia, approximately 1 in 3 of all homicides each year are based on domestic violence, and 1 in 6 women and 1 in 21 men will be victims of attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetimes.
Marcia Drake, WAIC's executive director, said in a news release this week that Women's Aid in Crisis is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to assist when one of these victims calls the agency's hotline or knocks on its door.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Hoover
Staff members, local leaders and members of the Women’s Aid in Crisis Board of Directors gather this week to kick off a fundraising campaign in one of the organization’s newly refurbished housing units. In front, from left, are Andrea Roberts, an attorney and a board member at Women’s Aid in Crisis; and Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph. Pictured in back, from left, are executive assistant Charlotte Heater of Upshur County, Executive Director Marcia Drake, Patty Pearson, Karla Flores, Assistant Director Rickie White, Fundraising Committee Chair and Board of Directors member Judy Seaman and Board of Directors President Melissa Thomas-VanGundy.
Now, WAIC is kicking off a fundraising campaign in its six-county service area, which includes Randolph, Upshur, Barbour, Tucker, Webster and Braxton counties - the largest area covered in West Virginia.
"Our organization receives some donations each year from individuals, businesses and churches, but that makes up a very small portion of our budget," Drake said. "The need for our services continues to grow, and we need community members to assist us in meeting these needs."
Last year, WAIC served 1,487 women, children and men who were victims of domestic or sexual violence and stalking.
The shelter and main office are located in Randolph County, and there are outreach offices in the other five counties.
A wide variety of services are provided, including shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, legal, medical and child advocacy, specialized sexual assault services, professional counseling, prevention education and transitional housing.
To make it easier to become part of the solution to this pervasive problem, WAIC is making it possible for people to contribute through monthly automatic bank withdrawals.
Judy Seaman, a longtime WAIC board member, and chair of the Fundraising Committee said donations can be in any amount.
"If 100 people would allow $10 each month to be deducted from their bank account, WAIC would have an additional $12,000 at the end of that year," Seaman added.
Donation forms are available by calling 800-339-1185. Donations also can be sent to WAIC at P.O. Box 2062, Elkins, WV 26241.
Requests to use funds in any one of the six counties covered by WAIC will be honored.