From CEO Judith Kahan

In this season of hope and giving, I am cheered by the stories of the people we serve.  People – usually parents and usually women – come to the Center Against Domestic Violence for help at the lowest point of their lives.  They only reach out when domestic violence has threatened their lives or the lives of their children.  They leave the Center with renewed joy, skills and one step closer to a bright future.

The other day I received a gift from one of our longstanding Tuesday Morning Support Group members, a hand wrapped pen that said “Center Against DV”.  Our Spanish speaking Tuesday group has been meeting for over ten years with a regular attendance of 20 or so women.  We have seen support group infants grow up and become school aged and support group school aged children enter high school.  The Center is committed to be there as long as we are needed.

Luz* was referred to our support group by her friend Gloria*.  Since leaving her abusive boyfriend several years ago, Gloria had been coming to group.  Many of the issues participants face have as much to do with immigration as with the abuse they suffered.  The Center helped Gloria with her immigration problems, and now Gloria was helping her friend Luz.

When Luz’s husband sent for her and their two children to come join him in the United States, it seemed like a dream.  It was so difficult in Mexico, even with the remittances Miguel* sent every month.

The family settled in Sunset Park, and from the outside they seemed happy.  What no one in their church or the children’s school knew was that every night Miguel would abuse Luz.  First the abuse was verbal and emotional – he constantly told her she was worthless.  Then when she became pregnant, the abuse became sexual and physical.

Luz put up with Miguel for the sake of the children, but then, one night while the children were getting ready for bed, Luz caught Miguel peeping at their 12 year old daughter Susana* getting undressed.  When she confronted him, he beat her senseless and left the house.  Luz called the police and Miguel was arrested.

The Center Against Domestic Violence Crime Victims Program is helping Luz and the children rebuild their lives.  The children are in counseling and we have helped Luz and the two older children successfully apply for visas.

Now Luz and the children live together safely in Brooklyn.  Luz makes ends meet by creating and selling handcrafts.  She created my Center Against DV pen as her way of saying “thanks”.

I say “thanks”, as well.  Thanks to all of you for supporting the Center Against Domestic Violence as we change and grow to fulfill our mission – ending domestic violence in our communities.  Through prevention, intervention and education, the Center is working to create a world without violence.

Please help us end domestic violence by supporting our work today.

Thank you and happy holidays.

* All names changed to protect identities.