Naples shelter hosts event to raise awareness of domestic violence

Reporter: Corey Lazar Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

One group of Southwest Florida men is taking a stand against domestic violence in our community, using their voices to stop the abuse.

“A lot of men just don’t think about it,” said Colin Estrem. “Domestic violence is the problem that a lot of people really don’t care to think about. In a community like Collier County, people think there are not those types of problems, but there are literally over 16-hundred calls to the shelter every year.”

That’s why Estrem decided to be part of the Shelter for Abused Women and Children’s Gentle’men Against Domestic Violence initiative. Brand new numbers published by the shelter show 1,686 calls to 911 for domestic violence just in the last year, and only half of victims even call 911. Domestic violence also cost the community $29.3 million.

Naples shelter CEO Linda Oberhaus says the pandemic has forced the shelter to quickly adapt and design a new texting system so victims can get help safely.

“Families are reluctant to come in the shelter during a pandemic,” Oberhaus said. “They can get support, emotional support, but also they can literally be screened for shelter, to come in and get safe shelter for themselves, their children and their pets.”

The yearly tailgating event put on by the Gentle’men Against Domestic Violence is happening once again this year, but virtually. The event has helped fund a new sports court for the teens.

“The thing that is beautiful about it is just imagining the young people that are brought to the shelter—rather than just sitting inside, they have a place to come and get their mind off things,” Oberhaus said.

WINK News anchor Corey Lazar will have the honor of emceeing the Gentle’men Against Domestic Violence virtual tailgate event. Our partners at Gulfshore Business are sponsors.

The Shelter for Abused Women and Children’s 24-hour confidential crisis hotline can be reached at (239) 775-1101.

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