Giving a voice to ‘The Silent Shame’


| jlyons@queenscourier.com |

As the nation observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month throughout October, there were many events throughout Queens that helped bring the issue to the forefront.
Queens College held several events as part of its partnership with New York State’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The events, which were part of the awareness campaign “Shine a Light on Domestic Violence,” kicked off on Friday, October 1.
At the kickoff event, those in attendance were urged to do their part to make a difference.
“We have an epidemic in America,” said Carmella Marrone, the Executive Director of Queens College’s Women and Work. “You are soldiers in this war; please, I beg you, don’t stand silent. Everyone in this room can be a hero.”
The college, which lit its clock tower purple in honor of the month, was joined by Borough President Helen Marshall.
“The trauma of domestic violence has a lasting effect on the individual, the family and society,” Marshall said. “We must do all we can to stop it.”
Other events Queens College held included the presentations “Domestic Violence: An American Epidemic” and “Domestic Violence Survivors Speak-out! Breaking the Silence, Empowering Women.”
Queens College also held its annual awareness march on Monday, October 25. Following opening remarks, participants from the college’s community marched on the campus while holding signs that addressed domestic violence.
The Borough President’s Task Force on Domestic Violence held weekly discussions during October as part of its annual fall conference. Each week specific topics were addressed, including domestic violence in the immigrant community, men as victims, teen dating violence and spirituality issues related to domestic violence.
In addition to speaking about the issues, Domestic Violence Awareness Month was also used as an opportunity to increase the amount of funding to combat the problem. During an October press conference, New York State Senator Jose Peralta announced $50,000 in funding that would go to the Queens District Attorney’s Office and Safe Horizon.
“Domestic violence is called a crime of silence. We must all be at the forefront on speaking out about domestic violence. While it is true that females are the victims in most instances of abuse, the effects of domestic violence are felt throughout every segment of our society,” Peralta said. “Children are particularly vulnerable to the damage caused by domestic abuse, and males who are brought up in abusive households are more likely to batter their own wives and children. I am committed to finding solutions to break the cycle of domestic violence in our community.”
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that the $25,000 received from Peralta would benefit the Queens Child Advocacy Center. It will also “aid us in maintaining appropriate staffing levels needed to ensure that our Domestic Violence Bureau continues its mission to help break the cycle of violence that affects so many families across our county while enhancing the quality of justice that domestic violence victims receive here in Queens,” Brown said.
The other $25,000 was given to Safe Horizon.
“The senator’s funding will bolster our ability to provide immediate, expert care to victims and their families seeking practical assistance and safety assessments in the Queens Family Justice Center,” Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang said. “This funding will also help support our children’s centers located in the borough’s courthouses, which provide free childcare to youngsters whose caregivers re otherwise engaged in lengthy and often contentious court proceedings.”

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THE SILENT SHAME: A guide for abuse victims PART IV

Part 3 of our series spotlighted sources of help for victims of domestic violence.

Part 2 of our series delves deeper into the issue of domestic violence, including the effect on children, male victims, and what is being done to help victims.

Part 1 of our series focuses on the introduction of the “disease,” that is domestic violence.