The Norman Transcript

October 7, 2012

Raising awareness

By Shana Adkisson
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Tony Gray hopes that one day domestic violence will end and he can close the doors to Compassion Pointe forever. But, with every call that Tony Gray gets, and he gets a lot, that dream gets farther and farther away.

“It seems like the number of calls are increasing dramatically. It’s sad that we have to tell these women that we not only don’t have a place, but we have a waiting list of women that need a place to go,” Gray, director of Compassion Pointe, said.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to draw attention to the epidemic, Gray asks that individuals in the community wear purple on Oct. 12.

Compassion Pointe also will hold its second annual charity gala at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 at CrossPointe Church, 2601 24th Ave. SE. Tickets are $50 each. Businesses can sponsor a table for $300. The event is the organization’s major fundraiser of the year and will include a guest speaker that was in an abusive relationship for more than 30 years, music, silent and live auctions and a drawing for a 2012 Chevy Camero.

November will mark the fourth year of operation for Compassion Pointe, and Gray has several ideas in the making for its future.

“As we go into next year, our goal is to go into our five year plan. We plan on acquiring 10 to 100 acres to build a self contained facility for these women where we can go in and start teaching them occupational skills,” Gray said. “As a retired educator, I’m concerned because many times the abusers find out where the victims are through the school systems. So hopefully we will be able to have a school on those grounds.”

Gray also hopes to have a housing complex on site of the facility that would provide women with multiple children a place to live.

“If a woman has more than two children, it is extremely difficult for her to find housing and the abuser knows that. We’d like to provide four or five residences on those grounds that are designed for larger families,” Gray said.

Gray knows firsthand the pain that is caused by domestic violence. As a child, Gray said, he witnessed his father abuse his mother.

“I always look at it from a child’s perspective. I know the women make the decisions, but the children have no say in the decision making process. I always look at the children first and what they go through. One of the things that I would always ask my mother was, ‘Why don’t we just leave?’ Her response would always be, ‘Because we don’t have anywhere to go.’ Even today, women still have that sense that if they step out and have no where to go, there is a likelihood that DHS will take their children. And the abuser knows that also,” Gray said.

Gray’s advice to a woman currently in a domestic violence situation is to educate herself.

“If you have a true desire to get out, start making preparations. It takes a lot of things falling into place for that to work. Once you step out that door, you are at the point of no return. One of the things you have to be careful of, once the abuser becomes aware that the victim is attempting to leave, then the violence escalates,” Gray said.

Compassion Pointe operates 12 Compassion Houses which allow women to escape their abusers and start a new life. According to Gray, Compassion Pointe has been able to assist about 30 women this year, and the organization operates on a 95 percent success rate.

Ways that individuals can help victims of domestic violence is to support the Women’s Resource Center in Norman, donate personal hygiene items, donate gift cards to beauty salons or area grocery stores or even donate a car.

“Typically, when these women leave they have no way to get their kids to the doctor, look for a job or anything else,” Gray said.

Compassion Pointe also has started Party Pointe, a service provided by volunteer Krystal Goodson that offers table settings for weddings and large parties. The use of Party Pointe’s services also is tax deductible.

Those interested in purchasing gala tickets or seeking more information about Party Pointe, can call Goodson at 308-6660. For more information about Compassion Pointe, call 701-2108 or visit www.compasionpointe.org.

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