October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The Eastern PA Conference will explore in a webinar, Oct. 15-16, how domestic violence is experienced and addressed by people who face injustice, neglect and other disadvantages because of their race, ethnicity, disability, nationality and other circumstances that relegate them to the margins of society. Register online now!
“Seeking Justice and Mercy for Marginalized Communities Experiencing Domestic Violence” will be the broad focus of the weekend webinar on Zoom. Eastern PA’s Domestic Violence (DV) Committee is organizing the Friday evening (7-9 PM) and Saturday morning (9 AM to 12:30 PM) event, its fourth annual seminar and its second held totally online.
The committee typically schedules its events during or just before National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. And while they are targeted to churches, they are open and helpful to everyone. Past seminars have focused on DV and the role of the church, DV and the role of men, and how DV affects families with children.
Maria Sofia Gattorno (left), an attorney at HIAS PA’s Domestic Violence Initiative, will keynote the webinar on Friday at 7 PM, following a greeting by Bishop John Schol and devotions. At HIAS she provides free legal services to immigrant and refugee survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who reside in Chester County. She represents survivors before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and in Immigration Court, while advocating to increase access for such survivors.
“Already vulnerable, immigrants are much more likely to experience abuse than non-immigrants, and are far less likely to leave their abusers,” reports HIAS of PA’s website. “Our advocates help immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault gain independence through legal status.”
Gattorno, who is from Puerto Rico, previously worked as a bilingual legal advocate in domestic violence cases at the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey. She guided clients through various legal processes, such as obtaining protection from abuse orders, divorce, custody matters and immigration reliefs.
“Voices of Survivors” will follow Gattorno’s keynote, featuring testimonies and reflections by a diverse panel of women—including one who is deaf—about their struggles for justice and equity in seeking help and healing to overcome domestic and intimate-partner violence.
Saturday’s agenda will feature more panelists sharing how non-mainstream cultures may be uniquely impacted by domestic violence, and what needs to be done—in the faith community and beyond—to respond to their challenging needs and circumstances.
Two sessions of hour-long workshops will offer more focused insights on addressing domestic violence in the lives of persons who are Latino/Latinx immigrants and refugees, deaf, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer-plus), Native American, and African American. A workshop on Men as Victims of DV is also included to shed light on a largely hidden and unknown aspect of the problem.
This webinar should reveal new information and insights; and it may stimulate ideas and opportunities to address the societal scourge of domestic violence made worse by social marginalization, injustice and inequity. Sessions will be sign-interpreted in ASL and possibly in Spanish if registrants need it.
* A Proclamation on National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, 2021
PRESIDENTIAL ACTION, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
For too long, domestic violence was considered a “family issue” and was left for families to address in private…. Today, we recognize the important roles of the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in helping to prevent and address domestic violence and create a culture that refuses to tolerate abuse. Domestic violence affects millions of people in the United States, causes significant harm to the physical and mental health of survivors and their families, undermines their economic stability and overall well-being, and is a stain on the conscience of our country.
While significant progress has been made in reducing domestic violence and improving services and support for survivors, much work remains to be done to expand prevention efforts and provide greater access to safety and healing. During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we come together to reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence and supporting survivors. Read more…