AKA’s Host Domestic Violence Seminar
By Anthea Dennis
It’s the month of the purple ribbons. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the ladies of the Eta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated hosted their program, “Where’s Madea?” on Oct. 13 in the multipurpose room of the Alex Haley Residential Hall to bring knowledge to the woman of Bowie State University’s campus about abusive relationships and the resources available for them to take advantage of.
The ladies of pink and green presented a guest speaker, Asjoure Brown, LCPC, who is a counselor and teen outreach at the House of Ruth Maryland, which is one of the nation’s leading domestic violence centers that helps women find safety and security for themselves and their children (www.hruth.org).
Each woman in attendance introduced herself and whether they have been affected by domestic violence. About half of them said that they were affected directly or indirectly by domestic violence. “Statistically, one-third of women, including teens, will be in an abusive relationship,” said Brown after the ladies’ statements.
The program was informative. Brown gave insights on the different types of abuse, how it affects self-esteem, the cycle of violence, and how abuse starts. She also gave the reasons why men abuse their partners and what warning signs the women should pay attention to. “When you meet someone, you meet their representative.”
Brown advised the ladies to make sure they got to know the person they are interested in before getting into a committed relationship and cohabitating with their partner, because they typically seem charming in the beginning but that may not be who they really are. Abuse starts out subtly and not so obvious. She also informed the audience that men are three times more likely to be abusive if they witnessed abuse as a child.
The ladies participated in a hands-on game, “In Her Shoes,” which was to put them in scenarios as characters in a domestic violent situation. It was up to them to choose the next step for what the characters would and/or should do.
“The game was to educate women about the barriers of leaving an abusive relationship,” Brown explained. It is not easy to end an abusive relationship, she said, which is why there are resources such as the domestic violence hotline and places like The House of Ruth available.
At the end of the program, the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated presented with a gift of appreciation for helping to spread the word about domestic violence awareness. The young women who attended the program received handcuffs as a reminder to “lock up domestic violence!”
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, don’t be afraid to speak up. Contact Asjoure Brown at (240) 450-3277 ext. 103 or firstname.lastname@example.org or call the 24-Hour Hotline: (410) 889-RUTH (7884)