CHARLESTON – Those who've experienced the pain and trauma of domestic violence will have the opportunity to learn how to go from being a victim to a survivor with the help of two domestic violence awareness events this month.
The Domestic Violence Counseling Center on Charleston's West Side in conjunction with Healing Through Creativity, a Hurricane-based trauma support group, are sponsoring an evening of creative expression Thursday, Oct. 5 at Hurricane's Museum in the Community, and a dinner featuring five domestic violence survivors as the keynote speakers Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.
The events are a joint observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"The purpose of these two events is to let domestic violence victims and offenders know they can heal from emotional trauma by using counseling or expressions of creativity," said Elizabeth Crawford, the center's director.
The Oct. 5 event is open to the public, and will feature various expressions of creativity, including poetry and music, from survivors of domestic violence, Crawford said. It will conclude with a candlelight vigil.
The Oct. 26th event is also open to the public, but those wanting to attend must submit and RSVP to the center by Tuesday, Oct. 24. In addition to the five women survivors who will be speaking, Crawford said George Robertson, HTC's founder, will talk about the trauma he suffered one night at the hands of two unknown assailants.
Robertson, a geologist who works in Poca, said he's humbled to share his experience along with the five women.
"I'm not a domestic violence survivor, but I'm a survivor on an equal ground," Robertson said.
Among the women who will be speaking at the Oct. 26 dinner is Kim Jones, a former manager at CASCI in Charleston who had to take disability due to Multiple Sclerosis. Jones, who just recently left an abusive relationship, said the message she hopes to convey to those attending is "to see that no one is alone."
"If we can just reach out and learn and try to better ourselves, we can break the cycle of violence," Jones said. "The responsibility is on us."
In the four years it has been affiliated with and located adjacent to New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. James Ealy said the Center has raised awareness in the community about domestic violence. Hopefully, these two events will continue to raise awareness of issues related to domestic violence that Ealy says often go undiscussed in churches.
"It's really made a difference, and we're glad to help," Ealy said.