As an advocate against Domestic Violence, I am taking action to bring more awareness to the impact of Domestic Violence in family homes, and particularly in communities of color. As we advocate for awareness of domestic violence, it is also important that we also discuss the connection between domestic violence and gun violence. More than half (55%) of American women killed with a gun are killed by an intimate partner or family member. Research shows that easy access to guns turns domestic violence fatal. For African American women, the homicide rate associated with family violence is even more alarming.
During this great month of awareness, I have been fortunate and honored to join the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (VSDVAA), Virginia's leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence as a Training Faculty.
As a principal facilitator of the "Essential Elements of Collaboration: Behavioral Health & Domestic Violence" curriculum, I provide my expertise and experience of mental health services and trauma to help build capacity and improve collaboration between domestic violence programs (DVPs) and Community Service Boards (CSBs) in Virginia. This is a great opportunity for domestic and sexual violence agency professionals and professionals working in the behavioral health field, as well as professionals working in child and social welfare (e.g., child protective services and foster care, family assistance, etc.), to better link and coordinate a system of care to reduce the impact of trauma on families who experience family violence. Especially as a the cycle of violence can often become a "family" issue.
In discussing this "family issue" and bridging the connection to gun violence and domestic violence, it is important for me to stress the importance of advocating and taking action within your local community. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, in partnership with Carol Adams Foundation, Transitions, Hampton Commonwealth Attorney, & Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance will host a Community Forum and Panelist Discussion, “Guns and Domestic Violence: A Lethal Combination,” at the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News, VA on October 25, 2016. I am truly honored to be among a very well-informed panel of community members, survivors, policymakers, law enforcement, and attorneys to share my perspectives of how the impact of historical and intergenerational trauma, cultural insensitivity, and the criminalization of adverse childhood experiences perpetuates the SILENCE of domestic violence in communities of color. This is only the beginning the of a much needed discussion.
To learn more about the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, please visit http://efsgv.org/. If you are interested in participating in the "Essential Elements of Collaboration: Behavioral Health & Domestic Violence" training, here are some upcoming event locations:
If you or someone you know may be the victim of Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence, please seek help. You have multiple options. For Virginia residents, you can access the Virginia Statewide Hotline for Family Violence and Sexual Assault at (800)838-8238. The Virginia Statewide Hotline also offers a chat and confidential instant messaging at (804)793-9999. You can access the National Domestic Violence Hotline
at (800) 799-7233.