DART Radiothon set for Thursday 

The Domestic Abuse Resistance Team’s annual radiothon will take place Thursday, Sept. 9 at Super 1 foods, broadcasting all day on Q94.1 radio. 

The radiothon, which began in 2002, helps raise funds for items DART needs that are not covered by existing grants. It’ll run on the radio from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

“For example, repairs to the shelter, extra security features like an outdoor camera, a separate building for children’s activities at the shelter, emergency repairs like a broken water line, and a generator,” said Terrie Queen Autrey, a DART community advocate. “We also believe that the Radiothon holds an unparalleled opportunity for community awareness, since it provides 12 straight hours of information from DART staff members, volunteers, board members, and community and university partners.” 

Autrey said the funds this year will be used to help defray the costs from the past 18 months of housing each family or individual in a separate safe location. 

“Due to COVID, we could not house families communally at our large, roomy and secure shelter,” she said. “Naturally, the cost of providing separate lodging for everyone was a great deal higher than housing families together at the shelter.  In addition, DART suffered a loss of income simply because giving is down — also as a result of COVID — while at the same time the need for our services has grown during the crisis of a pandemic, the stress of isolation with an abuser, economic strain, illness, and general anxiety.” 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. 

“Domestic violence has increased both nationally and locally in the past year and a half,” Autrey said.  “From Jan to June 2021, there were 58 domestic violence arrests in the Third Judicial Circuit with Lincoln and Union parishes, and 11 of them — 19% — were for domestic abuse by strangulation.” 

Autrey added that only 1 in 10 abuse victims ever steps forward to report the crime. 

Kate Hilburn, another DART community advocate, said the organization has made the community realize how important it is to have DART. 

“In the last 27 years that DART has existed, awareness of issues about domestic violence and dating violence and stalking has gone from just about non-existent (such as), ‘we don’t have a problem with that,’ to community-wide awareness achieved through talks, advertising, social media, university and community events and the newspaper, radio and TV.” 

Hilburn added that the radiothon helps pay for many of DART’s services. 

“We now have services that have evolved over time to cover a lot of what victims and survivors need, both in the crisis of the moment and in the long-term needs going forward — crisis management, legal advocacy, free counseling, children’s services, nutrition support, in addition to our mission to educate and inform the citizens of our community,” she said. 

 Individuals who want to support monetarily can phone in a pledge to 318-513-9373 or mail a check donation to DART, P.O. Box 1223, Ruston, LA 71273 or donate on DART’s webpage.

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