Race comes to Columbia in support of domestic violence awareness

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COLUMBIA - Multiple organizations came together in support of domestic violence awareness at a 5K race Sunday. Runners and walkers, both directly affected and in support of victims, gathered at Cosmo Park.  

For the first time, Race 4 Domestic Violence Prevention came to Columbia to work along-side local organization, True North. True North helps more than 800 domestic violence victims annually.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) one in three women and one in four men have been a victim of some kind of physical violence by a partner during their lifetime.

"We just don't think that's acceptable. We especially don't think it's acceptable in 2015," Tracey Passantino, Co-founder of Race 4 Domestic Violence Prevention, said.

Passantino said those impacted by domestic violence need extra assistance, especially when they are trying to leave an abusive situation. 

"When someone is leaving their environment, when they're leaving home, they walk out and they have nothing with them and sometimes they even leave pets and kids behind. So, if someone is being abused many times they are walking out the door with just the clothes on their back and so they don't have any toiletries with them, they have just the pair of clothes they have on, they have one set of shoes. They don't take stuff with them because they are in a scary environment and they just want to get out."

The most common age of women affected is between the ages of 18-24 said NCADV.

"We chose to do Columbia because of the size of the community and we also felt like because of the college here that there's probably a significant need for education even with college students," Passantino said.

In previous years, the 5K race has been hosted in just Kansas City and St. Louis. The united organizations plan to continue their efforts in Columbia in the future.

"We know the awareness is growing by the services we provide and we just want to continue to get the word out in the future about who we are" Barbara Hodges, Executive Director of True North, said.

Passantino said she hopes that these efforts will help domestic violence vanish as a societal issue for future generations.