Seminar recognizes domestic violence victims

“The Loneliness” by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds opened the seminar while women sat awaiting for the event to start. Their initial goal was to stop, to educate and to applaud the survivors of abuse.

Minority women rallied on Oct. 25 in the Phase III recreation room to ascertain questions and pay homage to the women who have lived and died as a result of violence.

According to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, (the most current national studies on domestic violence suggest that from 22-25 percent of all women will experience domestic violence at some point during their lives.) In Florida, 120,697 crimes of domestic violence were reported to the police in 2003. In fiscal year 2003-2004, Florida’s domestic violence centers responded to 132,629 crisis calls, provided counseling services to 197,787 individuals, and provided emergency shelter to 14,467 individuals, primarily women and children.

Many more survivors of domestic violence are not reporting their abusers to the police or accessing services at domestic violence services because of reasons such as shame, fear, or being prevented from doing so by their abusers, and for this reason, we may never know the true extent of abuse in our country and in our state. A FAMU student has tried to make a difference in women’s issues.

Kyontha D. Nelson said she wanted to include organizations that she felt had deep concerns about women’s issues, so that is why she asked the National Council for Negro Women and the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to help coordinate the event.

Nelson also was appointed Chairman of the FAMU Chapter of the Black Women’s Club. She was appointed the position by Adrienne Rogers, president of the FAMU Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“Domestic violence is about maintaining control over a person. It is always to the batter and not the victim who appears on CNN,” Patricia Smith said, the chairperson at the Refuge House and director of training. Some of the examples of DV that came from the audience and Smith were: verbal humiliation, threatening letters and proposed violence.

According to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “the average woman abuse is approximately 1 every 15 seconds 240 every hour nationwide.”

She said remember to always make sure your sending a message of support. She is also a reformed abused woman that has decided to give back to other women through her services that extend far out from seminars.

There were also two panelists that have proven to be survivors of the fittest, Julie Blakley and Thelma Jean. Blakely, a woman who used to be a reporter shared her story with the group through a feature story in a 2002 publishing.

“There’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Thelma Jean said, the second panelist. She was a parent of one of the young women in the audience that agreed to speak to the young women. She also noted that more men should have attended, but there were a total of 4. She spoke on empowerment and told the women there that they all were “beautiful and intelligent women and don’t let anyone scar your face.”

Jean said she got herself into the position by dating an older man and “being grown” too fast. She married at 18-years-old and it was two days out of high school. He was 11 years older than she. She mentioned how perfect everything used to be and how perfect he wined and dined her. “I had to wear sunglasses to work because I had black eyes,” Jean said.

There were also concentration exercises that helped place the women inside of real world DV situations. The night ended with sobbing and appreciations to the panelists.

“Love has nothing to do with domestic violence,” Smith said.

Contact Anthony S. Ray Jr. at