Behind closed doors: domestic violence seminar


Members of the FSU chapter of NCNW executive board with guest speaker Lauren Bolar. 
           Photo credit: Cyandra Younger


October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. “Behind Closed Doors” was a seminar about domestic violence held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Florida State University (FSU).

The seminar was hosted by the FSU chapter of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The goal of the seminar was to inform the African-American women community about domestic violence.

Taylor Novak  said one in every three African-American women faced some form of domestic violence nationally in 2016, while in Tallahassee one in every two African-American women faced domestic violence.

Novak is the community education and training director for the Refuge House, Inc. Novak was also a guest speaker at the NCNW seminar.

“A lot of people paint the idea that only twenty year olds are the only ones being abused, which is common, but it also happens to 60 year olds,” Novak said.  

Domestic violence victims are not only controlled by their abuser physically, but are also controlled mentally, financially and sexually. The age range for domestic violence varies too. Victims’ age on average range from 18 to 75.

Vice President of FSU’s chapter of NCNW and student at FSU, Joanna Clayton, expressed her beliefs on why it is important to bring domestic violence awareness to the African-American community.


Guest speaker Taylor Novak speaking to the audience about domestic violence.
Photo credit: Cyandra Younger


“This event was necessary and needed in the African-American community because a lot of women are told to silence their emotions and not to seek help, swallow it, and let go,” Clayton said. “Tonight, the woman who attended walked away feeling powerful and ready to defeat their abusers. This event was necessary.”

Many women are scared to speak out because family or friends shut them out, or they are used to being with the abuser so long. In a situation like this, some women do not think there is any hope of leaving and if they do leave, they do not know where to go.

A survivor of domestic violence and senior at Florida A&M University, Lauren Bolar, was also a guest speaker. She said how important it was for her to leave her abusive relationship.

“I was first controlled and cheated on then the fighting and abuse came,” Bolar said. “The abused only happened twice, but that was enough for me. I had to leave, especially now that I have a daughter looking up to me to be a strong mother.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, statistics suggest that between 22 and 25 percent of women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

If you seek help please call (850) 425-2749 for more information.