LifeWay Network participated in a Domestic Violence Awareness Event sponsored by Queens Council Member Elizabeth Crowley in conjunction with the NYPD 104th Precinct, held on the evening of October 25, 2016.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and many organizations participated in this event to help Queens residents learn more about how prevalent domestic violence is, how to recognize it, and how to empower abused persons to escape it. Speakers included social service organizations, local leaders, and survivors.
Jasmine Ortiz of LifeWay Network, herself a survivor of domestic violence, shared her heartfelt and personal story of what she went through, and how she broke free to start her journey towards healing and empowerment. She encouraged people in similar situations to seek help to leave their situations, and to seek counseling afterwards. She shared how alone one feels as a victim of domestic violence.
Where do I begin to explain the mental abuse and the beatings?
You said I was ugly, You’re too skinny, You have no brains,
You will never amount to anything,
I believed these lies, But look at me now…
Thank you for those words they made me stronger,
As if the mental abuse wasn’t enough for you so you beat me,
You watched as I sat there bleeding…
I remember the day I almost died,
You laughed, while I cried…
Now that I have gotten away…
I have no more tears or any fears, but the memory will last for years.
God has blessed me and now I’m not afraid to be who I was created to be.
I am brave, brave enough to know I’m valued.
Brave enough to have found marriage,
And brave enough to believe in love,
Brave enough to love myself.
Lima James, LifeWay Network’s Education Training Coordinator spoke about the intersection of domestic violence and human trafficking. She emphasized the mindset of abusers having power and control, taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability and the intense psychological manipulation that keeps a person from seeking help.
Domestic violence and human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, have a lot of similarities. The tactics traffickers and batterers use to gain power and control over an individual is often exactly the same. Traffickers and batterers are able to control an individual through psychological manipulation, isolation, physical threats to oneself or family members, emotional abuse, and economical abuse. They go back and forth with love and affection and abuse and violence. Often, I get asked the question–“So why don’t the victim just leave or go to the police?” These power and control tactics mentioned make it extremely hard for a victim to just leave and/or seek help.
Domestic Violence is an issue of great concern in New York City, and efforts are being made to bring awareness of it to the public, and break the cycle of violence encountered by families in the city.