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Domestic violence awareness raised at the Oklahoma Capitol

Flags planted in the lawn of the Oklahoma State Capitol for a domestic violence awareness program. (KOKH/Matt Coon)

The south lawn of the Oklahoma Capitol, was home to a sea of waving, purple flags on Thursday, as advocates and victims recognized Domestic Violence Awareness month.

This year marks a decade of Oklahoma designating October for domestic violence issues.

During the Wreath of Hope Ceremony outside, advocates added white roses to the wreath, to show there are many organizations here to help.

Related: "Purple Thursdays" social media push helps raise awareness for domestic violence

A victim shared her story about how resources at the YWCA finally helped her leave an abusive relationship.

"I gained the knowledge that I needed to know, that I am important, my life does matter, and everything will be okay," she said.

Inside the Capitol, an award ceremony recognized law enforcement officers and advocates for their work in the battle.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson told the crowd that a childhood experience may likely have put him on his law enforcement path.

"I'm sitting there at seven or eight-years-old and I'm watching this man. I really, I was so conflicted because he was so nice to me and I couldn't figure out the same guy who was so nice to me, and would talk to me about sports, could be so violent and so mean to my sister," he said.

The program was funded by Verizon.

"We think this is a very, very important issue and we're really excited to partner," John Welker, with Verizon, said.

The company told FOX 25 it knows cell phones can be our lifelines. Verizon shared some tips:

  • In the settings feature of our phones, we can block numbers from calling us and even choose to not have our number shown to callers.
  • It’s very important to review the location services functions of our apps which can track our whereabouts. It’s also important that we review these settings on our social media accounts. Social media is an easy way for people to know your location if you don’t change these settings.
  • Samsung phones a built-in emergency tool, that can be found under the Privacy and Emergency tab in Settings that lets you quickly notify pre-determined contacts that you may be in immediate trouble. Apple phones allows you to tap the sleep/awake button five times to make pre-selected emergency and/or medical calls. There are personal safety apps such as SafeTrek app that lets you alert the police when you are in an unsafe situation. Other popular personal safety apps include bSafe and Kitestring.
  • It’s also important to note that increasingly, many families are using location based apps to know the whereabouts of each family member. These apps are great for safety and for monitoring kids. Unfortunately, they can also be used as a control mechanism in domestic situations where the perpetrator uses the app to ensure he/she always has tabs on the victim. When deciding to use these tools, strongly consider your families’ needs.
  • A Verizon tech expert, at any Verizon store location, can assist anyone who is interested in learning more about these features.

If you or someone you know, is a victim of abuse, call the Oklahoma Safe Line 1-800-522-SAFE (7233) to speak with an advocate.

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