Sunday, October 02, 2005

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS


[My niece and her son lighting candles at Chicago's 2005 Domestic Violence Awareness Luminaria]

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On Saturday, October 1st, I participated in the Annual Luminaria—“Light Up the Lakefront” event at Oak Street Beach, in Chicago. This candlelight vigil is in honor of women and children impacted by domestic violence. Volunteers from several domestic violence agencies around Chicago light 3,000 luminaries representing the thousands of victims affected by domestic violence each year.

AS A CRISIS line volunteer for a domestic violence agency, people always ask me why I got involved with domestic violence. And I always respond, “How could I not?” How can I explain it? Throughout my life, I have witnessed domestic violence and have known women who have been affected by domestic violence. Every time I hear about a woman who has been killed at the hands of her boyfriend or husband (or ex- boyfriend/husband), my blood boils. I never think, “Why didn’t she knock him out the first time it happened?” “Why didn’t she leave?” I think, “What could I do to empower this woman so that she can believe she deserves more than she’s been getting?”

ALTHOUGH MY JOB is to provide information about orders of protection, emergency shelter and other resources, I hope I provide much more. There’s only so much I can say in the 5-15 minutes when speaking to callers but sometimes all women need is someone to listen to them, someone to support them.

IF YOU KNOW someone who is a victim of domestic violence, don’t ridicule her, don’t tell her “just leave,” and don’t tell her how you would never let a man hit you, just support her. Give her the number to the local domestic violence agency (in Chicago, call Between Friends 1-800-603-4357). But most of all, LISTEN. And pray for the victims and survivors.

Love, Peace & Soul
Amor, Paz y Alma

2 Comments:

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At October 05, 2005 1:23 PM, Blogger Enjoli said...

Hi, my name is Enjoli, I am Xenia's niece who is depicted above with my son. I am free to speak that I am a domestic violence survivor of 4 1/2 years of my life. I have to say that Xenia has definitely been an inspiration to me and has made an extreme impact in my life with her accomplishments with her book and and her devoted time she puts aside to assist women that have been or are currently experiencing what I have. Just a note!

 

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