Saturday, December 8, 2012

Space to Grow


October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Zahide Love, along with her friends, Gigi, Jerri, Jillian, Michelle, Nadine, Aswadah, organized a domestic violence fundraiser at Bravo Cucina Italiano, (7924 Via Dellagio Way Orlando, FL). The ladies of Space to Grow helped combat the devastating effects of domestic violence by coming together to network and build new relationships while raising money for a good cause. The $20 donation entry included an appetizer and a raffle entry for a resort stay. 100% of the contributions were donated directly to the Women's Residential Counseling Center, (WRCC) to benefit the women and children survivors of domestic violence. Founded in 1921 the WRCC has evolved over the years ot become an important safe haven for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.

In 2010, 113,378 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies resulting in 67,810 arrests. During fiscal year 2010-2011, Florida's certified domestic violence centers provided 477,489 nights of emergency shelter to 15,789 survivors of domestic violence and their children. Many more survivors of domestic violence are not reporting their abusers to the police or accessing services at domestic violence services due to reasons such as shame, fear, or being prevented from doing so by their abusers. For this reason, we may never know the true extent of abuse in our country and in our state.

Bravo's happy hour menu was extended for the fundraiser.  Terry joined me to network as I sketched. Darkness quickly set in, but the restaurants outdoor lights kept things cheery. There were a few speakers, but unfortunately the loud Sand Lake Road traffic noise made hearing difficult. I did hear Zahida speak, and she announced to those gathered that she had been the victim of domestic abuse. This was the first time she had admitted that in public. She is certainly brave, vibrant and active with a charitable heart today. There was a ground swell of applause.

A Space to Grow pamphlet announced, "It is sad when someone thinks they have no one to talk to about abuse. It is a horror if you don't ask. Talk about it." The statistics are staggering. There is a chance someone you know is affected. Reach out and respond.

 E-mail at info@spacetogrow.org. WRCC crisis hot line 407 425-1076.

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