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11th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Event Brings Awareness to the Community

Womenshelter of Long Beach aims to teach young adults about healthy relationships

The+tree+where+participants+were+encouraged+to+place+their+touchstones+on+the+roots+of+the+tree%2C+which+was+meant+to+symbolize+the+support+system+for+victims+of+domestic+violence.
The tree where participants were encouraged to place their touchstones on the roots of the tree, which was meant to symbolize the support system for victims of domestic violence.

The tree where participants were encouraged to place their touchstones on the roots of the tree, which was meant to symbolize the support system for victims of domestic violence.

The tree where participants were encouraged to place their touchstones on the roots of the tree, which was meant to symbolize the support system for victims of domestic violence.

Nadia Villanueva, Contributor

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Womenshelter of Long Beach held its 11th annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month event on Saturday to engage with the community over the importance of healthy relationships.

The event took place in the parking lot of the Teachers Association of Long Beach on Atlantic Avenue. It began with speeches by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Councilmember Al Austin, followed by an open discussion among information booths. Participants could go to a booth with any questions and learn about different organizations associated with helping people get out of domestic violent relationships.

According to Eydie Pasicel, director of youth services and education at the Womenshelter of Long Beach, people ages 16 to 24 are mostly at risk of experiencing domestic violence. In response, Pasicel has been able to attend high schools, middle schools and colleges to give segments on signs to look out for in relationships and how to handle situations that could lead to abusive behavior

“For some of them it’s their first time dating. They’re not aware of the early signs,” said Tatiana Dorman, associate director at the Womenshelter of Long Beach.

Exhibiting manipulative behavior such as controlling who their partner can hang out with, or obsessive calls and text messages are behaviors Dorman said young adults often overlook as “love” or “really caring about the individual.”

Activities at the event consisted of arts and craft projects. One such activity encouraged participants to pick two color schemes, with each color representing phrases such as power, joy or growth. Another activity encouraged individuals to create a touchstone by painting phrases such as “you deserve love” and “love is not hate” on a stone. The touchstones were then placed near the roots of a painting of a tree, to symbolize the community that attended as the roots that holds up those who have been victims of domestic violence. Pasicel aims to teach young men and women about more than just warning signs.

“The aim is to have an open discussion about what is toxic and what is healthy,” said Dorman. “It’s not just about the physical abuse.”

Pascel talked about why hickeys are an example of possessiveness and aren’t necessarily a form of intimacy. She also talked about how to deal with arguments and impulsive behavior that can be sparked by jealousy or insecurities.

“We’ve all seen those instances where someone gets jealous,” Pasicel said. “You see phones getting broken, maybe cars getting scratched, or tires getting slashed. You hear about this stuff and you just think ‘oh it’s drama,’ but no — these are serious red flags.”

The center has free services for young adults learn about what is healthy in a relationship and how to communicate respectfully during disagreements.

“The nature of it is arguments,” said Sophorn Chea, an on-call staff at the Womenshelter of Long Beach. “In a relationship it takes two, so if they don’t have communication skills, it could hurt them.”

Despite the center’s name, Womenshelter of Long Beach, also extends help and advice to men.

“Domestic violence knows no boundaries between gender, sexual identity, age or socioeconomic status. It doesn’t matter. It’s all around the world,” said Pasicel. “We take anyone who’s a survivor. Folks in the LGBT community, along with men, straight men or gay men. There’s a place for them to heal as well.”

1 Comment

One Response to “11th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Event Brings Awareness to the Community”

  1. Daniel Salazar Jr on October 11th, 2017 7:24 pm

    Great article!! There is no excuse for domestic violence and I hope that people benefited from this event.

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