Women in Leadership, Miami

admin | 3/29/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Local non-profit raises awareness about domestic violence

In honor of Womens History Month, the Liberty City-based non-profit organization Women in Leadership, Miami hosted a domestic violence awareness event at Blessed Catering Banquet Hall on Thursday, March 22nd. The event brought together experts about domestic violence from the social service, law enforcement and judicial fields. This fight to end domestic violence is a fight we all have to engage in, said Rep. Cynthia Stafford, who was one of the events featured speakers. According to national surveys, 22 to 25 percent of all women will become victims of domestic violence at least once in their lives. Paulette Richards, the organizer for Women in Leadership, Miami said the organization hosted the Domestic Violence Awareness event to teach women and men how to end such abusive relationships and to prevent them from entering such relationships. We dont want to wait until our teens our young girls are victims before we get to talk to them about this, Richards said. The event also served as a kick off event for a series of future workshops dedicated to raising awareness about domestic violence, in particular raising awareness among young men and women and teens and even adolescents. In spite of its prevalence, many people remain ignorant of many aspects of domestic violence including why victims remain in such abusive relationships. Domestic violence is all about power and control, said Rose Taylor, a counselor for Safe Space Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping domestic violence victims. Domestic violence has nothing to do with love. According to Officer Mariline Nelson, victims stay for a variety of reasons including because they have children, because they own property and other assets with their abusers or simply because they have no access to any funds. In keeping with the events theme of prevention, some speakers also explained the origins of many abusive relationship. Before the domestic violence even gets physical, the abuser will beat down your self-esteem and typically people will pick on victims who already have low self-esteem, said Nelson. And, once he beats you down psychologically, then he will beat you down physically. And lest people believe that they are immune or that they would never become victims of domestic violence, Taylor explained that this form of abuse affects everyone across racial, economic, age and even gender lines. A lot of people have become so accustomed to some forms of abuse that they have become desensitized, she said, noting that even cursing or yelling at someone is a form of verbal abuse. She further explained, And once you open yourself to one type of abuse than its easier to abuse you. By Kaila Heard kheard@miamitimesonline.com