So in the United States, October is known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month but internationally November is a time to acknowledge the issues around domestic violence specifically on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In conjunction with this day, this month’s Double Latte Selection features an organization working against Domestic Violence:
Why Witney’s Lights
There are a few reasons why I have chosen Witney’s Lights for this month’s selection and I will discuss two of them here.
The first reason is how I came to know of Winey’s Lights and the work of its founder, Quincy A. Lucas. During the 2008 Democratic Convention, on my way to the convention as a volunteer I learned that Barack Obama selected Joe Biden to be his running mate. As a Delawarean, well I was raised one I now live in another state, I was ECSTATIC because well Joe Biden is from Delaware and also because Joe Biden was my first choice for President in 2008. Later, I heard about the selection of Lucas to be the official nominator at the convention and how her selection was connected to the work that Biden put in towards the passing of the Violence Against Women Act.
So after hearing Lucas’ nomination speech I heard more and more about her sister who died as a victim of domestic violence and later heard through an event our sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., chapters had honoring the work Lucas has done through the non-profit she created in her sister’s memory to assist other women from falling into a situation of domestic violence.
The second reason why I am selecting Witney’s Lights this month is connected to how I came to know about Las Hermanas Mirabal or The Butterflies. While studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, we learned about Dominican history and a big event in modern Dominican history is the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. An important extension of this event is Las Hermanas Mirabal who I call the catalysts to the fall of the Trujillo regime. Now, one of the great things about studying abroad is that not only can you read about history you can experience it so one day my study abroad group when to the Mirabal Sisters’ museum where we got to see what life was like for the sisters in that time. We also got to meet the surviving Mirabal sister, Dede.
Reading and learning and seeing about the Mirabal sisters made domestic violence real for me in a way that it was not real for me before. I grew up in a suburban middle class environment so domestic violence was something that was far away for me. Of course I knew it was a bad and terrible thing but learning this history and visiting their graves and seeing the remains of the car that they were riding in before they were taken to their deaths…its hard to put into words but the best way I can put it is that it made me see how easily that could have been me (I hope people don’t misread that statement). Or maybe the combination of reading and seeing made the issue of domestic violence more tangible so that I was more aware and affected by its existence.
About Witney’s Lights
Witney’s Lights is named after the late Dr. Witney Holland Rose a University of Maryland Psychiatrist
who was murdered in 2003 by her ex-boyfriend. Witney’s Lights is a grassroots non-profit organization
committed to eliminating domestic violence through awareness, education, prevention, advocacy, and a
commitment to advancing the initiatives laid out in the landmark, Violence Against Women Act of 1994.*
About the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Previously, 25 November was observed in Latin America and a growing number of other countries around the world as “International Day Against Violence Against Women”. With no standard title, it was also referred to as “No Violence Against Women Day” and the “Day to End Violence Against Women”. It was first declared by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Bogota, Colombia (18 to 21 July 1981). At that Encuentro women systematically denounced gender violence from domestic battery, to rape and sexual harassment, to state violence including torture and abuses of women political prisoners. The date was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters. It originally marked the day that the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic were violently assassinated in 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship (Rafael Trujillo 1930-1961). The day was used to pay tribute to the Mirabal sisters, as well as global recognition of gender violence.#
The reasons shared above combined with a few others is why I am taking time in the month of the International Day Against Violence Against Women to select Witney’s Lights as this month’s Double-Latte selection. So please take time to visit the Witney’s Lights website, follow them on Twitter or even take time to find out if there is something you can do to prevent the prevalence of Domestic Violence or to assist victims in rebuilding their lives. For example, Witney’s Lights holds a 5K Run/Walk each year to promote Domestic Violence awareness and to raise funds for its programs to prevent domestic violence from happening and to assist victims of this abusive crime.