It's no secret that I am a big fan of the television show Law & Order. On many occasions, I can be found laying in bed with my favorite cup and remote watching all the repeat episodes. Hours go by before I realize that I am trapped and can't move. I can recall how my son,now 13,use to stop at the sound of the “dun dun” when the theme music played when he could barely walk. It is generally the show that I fall asleep to and definitely the show I look for when I awake in the middle of the night. All that crime would probably drive the average person crazy or maybe not. It definitely has an affect on you.
Despite the disclaimer, you know that most of these episodes are based off of real life events with a common theme of Domestic Violence. Domestic violence is a community issue as I learned this weekend at the Silence Speaks panel event sponsored by the Beta Delta Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. The more we are quiet the more it thrives. This growing epidemic affects individuals in every community, regardless of race,age, economic status or gender. It results in physical and psychological trauma and in some cases death. The affects of which can last a lifetime and are sometimes seen especially in the children who witness it.
Amongst the panel of experts was Dorothy Johnson-Speight Founder and National Executive Director of Mothers In Charge. She tells her story that began with the tragic murder of her son in 2001 over a parking space dispute and there was not a dry eye in the room. Her organization provides counseling and support to families affected by gun violence but also advocates to help young adults navigate ways to process anger without resulting in violence. The fact that there have been 393 domestic violence gun related fatalities since the beginning of the year is a reminder that there is still work to be done.
Another panelist, Levone Cannady from WOAR- Women Organized Against Rape spoke about how important it is not to only support victims but to work together to end the victime shaming that comes along with sexual crimes. Shows like Law & Order are great conversation starters. It dispels many of the associated myths- like only whores and/or strangers can be attacked or maybe in some way you asked for it. Many of the stories the victims knew the attacker and because of this did not feel they could report the attack. The negative consequences of these attacks are always highlighted and it would be great if it could help reduce and/or eliminate the number of instances.
As October comes to an end, wear your purple proudly as a sign of support that you will no longer be silent.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored as part of a campaign with #FiosPhilly. All opinions belong to the Neighborhood