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Ending Abuse: Linda Newton's Big Challenge

Linda Newton, a Lilburn resident and community activist, is taking on a new role to do more to end domestic violence.

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published August 16, 2012.)

Linda Newton doesn't know abuse like the women she's helping, and the women she wants to help.

Maybe she's seen pictures, heard stories, met survivors. But, she doesn't have a personal story.

Truthfully, though, it does not matter. Newton knows this: That it's awareness and a giving, open heart that makes all the difference for women dealing with domestic violence.

"I'm very grateful that I have not experienced the kind of things these women are going through, but I've seen it, and you don't forget," she said, "especially since it isn't only the women, it's the children. And, it repeats from generation to generation.

"So, our only hope to actually stop domestic violence is to help these women help their children get out of it, so they can experience a different life."

New Role, Big Mission

In Newton's new role as the General Federation of Women's Club's state chairwoman for domestic violence programs, she hopes to do just that. A member of the Lilburn Woman's Club for the past two years, she's already worked as the co-chairwoman for domestic violence awareness locally.

During her two years as the state chairwoman, she wants to make a serious impact with the organization's three main areas: domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. With 150 clubs in Georgia and membership at 5,000, Newton has her work cut out for her.

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is the main cause. The national organization has partnered with Partnership Against Domestic Violence to raise more awareness about the issue.

"It's not a pleasant subject," Newton said. "People just feel like, they're afraid almost of dealing with it. But, it doesn't make it go away."

According to a recently released study by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Georgia is ranked No. 6 for the rate at which men kill women. About 40 percent of the time, children were present during these killings, according to data from a state fatality review in 2011.

The fatality review also showed that there were nearly 70,000 calls to Georgia's certified domestic violence agencies. However, just 9,500 women found refuge inside a shelter, with almost 3,000 women being turned away due to lack of space, according to the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Women Saving Women

To Newton, those figures are disquieting. That's why she and other women of the local woman's clubs are working to help ensure the Gwinnett County Safe House has the resources it needs. (To learn more about the campaign for the Gwinnett County Safe House, click here.)

"One in four women encounter domestic violence in their lifetime, so almost as soon as you tell somebody that, they've got a story -- about somebody in their family, somebody who is a friend who's going through it, and people are looking for answers," Newton said.

In addition to supporting the safe house in Gwinnett County, Newton is also focused on making contacts and raising awareness in child abuse and elderly abuse across the state. With child abuse, for example, the state organization will be working with Prevent Child Abuse Georgia.

First, Newton needs to meet with the chapters across Georgia, so she can be the visible cheerleader for the movement going forward. This includes working with chapters to fine-tune their efforts, and expand the state's relationships with other organizations.

"Probably one of the best things about being part of the federation of women's clubs is that there is a tremendous amount of synergy between women working together to get things accomplished," Newton said.

Newton's confident in her new role. Maybe she won't end abuse; many have tried. But, she's doing her part to try. That's all anyone can ask of her.

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Mandy McManus August 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM
If anyone can make a difference, Linda can! Great article on a great lady!
Richard Ferris August 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Thank you for picking up the gauntlet in a never ending crisis. Having witnessing it first hand, as a child, I understand a few of the challenges you will face. I know you have the fortitude and personal courage to make a difference. Well done, Linda!
Crystal Huskey (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Great story, great writing. Glad to read about women like this making a difference!
C.A. Folds August 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
What can we do to help? Please print a follow up story to let your readers know how they can support this endeavor.
Andrea Brannen August 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Linda is a wonderful asset to the Lilburn community. She never says never and is always looking for a way to make a difference. I am proud to call her a friend. Way to go Linda!
Barbara Barth August 16, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Linda is a wonderful giving woman. She will - and has- made a difference for others!
Joy L. Woodson August 16, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Please see the sister story to this: http://lilburn.patch.com/articles/campaign-for-gwinnett-county-s-safe-house
Patricia Biemiller August 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Linda is an amazing woman who has been working for this group of women for some time. The world is a better place because of her.
Patricia Biemiller August 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Linda is an amazing lady who has been helping this group of woman for some time. All of Gwinnett is lucky to have her.
Pat Gabilondo August 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Linda is a great example of how one person can make a significant impact in the world. Her dedication and passion creates a ripple effect in a pool of still water and has already made a tangible difference in the lives of many local victims of DV. I'm so happy to count her in my circle of friends. Great article, Joy!
Linda Newton August 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Thanks so much for all the kind words and most of all for your friendship and support as we tackle intimate partner violence, child abuse and senior abuse. Because we work together we can make a difference.
Susan August 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM
What a wonderful cause that Linda has been putting so much time and energy in for so long. And she is making such a difference for so many women and children.

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