Refuge House shines light on domestic violence

Refuge House Awareness event at TCC Center.
Photo courtesy Jeffrey Baptiste

A domestic violence awareness event took place Tuesday at the TCC Workforce Development Center. Meg Baldwin, executive director of Refuge House, hosted the event in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It allowed courageous survivors to share their experiences with domestic violence and how they continue to move along their journey.

Lisa Stafford, a domestic violence survivor, said: “It’s national domestic violence awareness month so I just want to say, if you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship, please don’t be afraid to speak up about it.”

The Refuge House in Tallahassee provides services to victims, children and families of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout the Big Bend. Its mission is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault through community education and public advocacy.

Baldwin thanked Rev. Renita Dixon and Vox Cappella for their uplifting music during the survivor speak-out and candle light vigil. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey made a brief appearance and shared a reading of the DVAM Proclamation.

After the proclamation Baldwin announced the 2019 DVAM awards. The first award was presented to Astro Travel and Tours. It received the Community Volunteer of the Year award. Carolyn “Freda” King was honored as Community Partner of the Year. The final award went to Georgia Cappleman, an assistant state prosecutor, for Advocate of the Year.

Linda Howard, a Tallahassee resident for six years, said domestic violence is not always what you expect. Abusers will not always show any indication of aggression, she said.

“They don’t punch you on the first date,” Howard said. “They are charming and manipulative and ease you into your abuse. They start small.”

Domestic violence can occur to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It includes behavior that physically harms or creates fear in an individual.  Holding a person against their will is another form of domestic violence. Factors such as threats, intimidation or emotional abuse can all be considered domestic violence

The event concluded after two violence prevention skits titled “Green Dot.”

Tuesday’s event did not draw a large crowd of guests.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, Refuge House urges you to call the hotline for support and information: 850-681-2111.