Speaker: You do not have to be a victim of domestic violence

October 23, 2011

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Women (and men, too), you are somebody, Mike Price wants you to know.

That is why you do not have to be a victim of domestic or sexual violence, he told about 150 people who attended a “Take Back the Night” program Saturday night at Martinsville High School.

Citizens Against Family Violence (CAFV) organized the event in observance of October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Price, the keynote speaker, is the founder of T.R.A.S.H. (Totally Redeemed Anointed Servants of the most High) Ministry in Bassett. He recalled that a few years ago, he was hateful, abusive and disrespectful because “I had no respect for myself.”

He then became a Christian, and his attitude completely changed.

“Jesus saves you for who you are,” Price said. Regardless of any bad things a person has done in the past, or any bad things that happened to someone, “you are a special jewel” to the Lord, who has a purpose for your life, he said.

Along that line, he said, abuse victims must realize their self-worth and tell themselves “I am somebody” to gain the motivation they need to escape the abuse.

People must not let themselves be victimized. For example, Price said, a woman whose intimate partner has just punched her in the face must not convince herself that “he hurt you but he didn’t really mean to.”

“You’ve got to be real to yourself,” he said. “If you deny the situation you’re in, you can’t come out of it.”

With help and support, a person who feels broken spiritually and emotionally can “become whole again,” said CAFV Executive Director Melissa Gravely.

Domestic and sexual violence affects people of all ages, races and genders, noted Leanna Blevins, president of CAFV’s board.

More than 3 million women annually in the United States become victims of domestic violence as a result of actions by their intimate partners, according to statistics provided by CAFV.

About 835,000 men also are abused by their intimate partners each year, a study by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers shows. That number could be higher because it is believed that many men do not report being abused, an article on the usnews.com website shows.

That could be because “they feel they’ll be perceived as less manly if they come forward” to seek help, Blevins speculated.

But CAFV provides services to everyone in need, without being judgmental, she emphasized.

Gravely mentioned statistics that show if every teenager who is a victim of domestic and sexual abuse was to get inside a school bus, 31,000 buses would be filled.

Young people must be taught that abusing someone is wrong, she said.

“If we can train them in the way they should go” in life, said CAFV board member Chris Hairston, “we won’t have these knuckleheads” who torment people.

Abuse is not just morally wrong. It is also a crime.

Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Bassett, said the state’s crime commission is trying to find ways to establish or strengthen laws to protect abuse victims.

He noted a new law — the Linda Bostwick Act — that became effective July 1. Named after a Henry County woman who was shot to death in 2007 by her estranged husband, the law allows judges to require violators of protective orders to wear GPS tracking devices. The devices alert police and/or abuse victims if an abuser gets too close to a victim.

Armstrong sponsored the bill in the House of Delegates.

No matter what problems a couple may have, “violence is not the way to solve them,” said Armstrong, who helped CAFV prepare its bylaws nearly three decades ago and was a member of the organization’s first board.

He pledged, as a lawmaker, to continue working to find ways to better protect abuse victims.

Saturday night’s event, Hairston said, was intended as a way for victims to send a message to abusers of “no more putting your hands on me. No more verbal abuse. Enough is enough. No more domestic (and sexual) violence.”

Gravely urged people to help others in needy situations.

Alluding to the roughly 150 people who attended the program, she said that if everyone can somehow touch the life of another person who is undergoing some type of turmoil, the result might be 150 lives saved.

Entertainment during “Take Back the Night” included a praise dance team from Galilean House of Worship, the Inferno Step Team from Ferrum College and Gavin Davis, a Christian recording artist.


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