D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - One in three women and one in four men in South Mississippi have been affected by domestic violence.
That number is higher than the national average, which shows the critical need for awareness and training on the Gulf Coast.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort has 800 employees. According to statistics, at least 200 of them have been affected by domestic violence.
The casino has partnered with the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence to provide training for employees so they can help themselves and others.
“Our goal as an organization is to provide education and a resource,” said Stacey Riley, Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence CEO. “So we’re educating people on recognizing domestic violence, but we’re also giving them a resource for themselves, their friends or family members, or someone who comes into the casino.”
Scarlet Pearl’s Vicki Haskins said the idea for the training came from Domestic Abuse Awareness Month and grew from there.
“Sometimes it’s mere education that can help our associates, our colleagues, our guests, our community members, our neighbors, you might not even know. There’s all kinds of abuse,” she said.
The workers will get an hour-long session in small groups with a representative of the center and a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault who now helps other victims recover. Her message is three-fold.
“One is there are resources out there that will be able to help someone,” said Yolanda Jerry, Center board member and CEO of YJ Empowerment. “Two, knowing that domestic violence is real and something that happens in everyday life in a community, and three, just knowing that the community cares, including folks like Scarlet Pearl casino who cares about their staff members.
“To provide this training to this many people in a small-group setting, being able to reach across the whole span of the whole casino staff, I believe that even if it’s only for one hour, it will be impactful.”
“We’re hoping to be able to get the word out about doing this for the Scarlet Pearl staff and to be able to provide the opportunity to other casinos in our community to be able to provide the same training to their staff members,” Riley said.