By Michelle Lampariello
Brave survivors of domestic violence gathered with supporters to share their stories during the Break the Silence Monologues, hosted by the College’s Anti-Violence Initiative (AVI).
Held in the Library Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 20, the monologues are part of AVI’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness for domestic violence throughout the month of October.
Four domestic violence survivors bravely shared their struggles about coming to terms with their situation. Many felt isolated, ashamed and powerless.
AVI named the event “Break the Silence” with the hope that having survivors share their stories will allow others to realize they are not alone.
“Even on my bad days now, I’m still doing better than I ever honestly dreamed was possible,” sophomore psychology major Melissa Garfinkel said.
In a monologue titled “A Letter to Myself,” senior communication studies major Joanne Kim discussed her difficulty managing the whirlwind of emotions that come with being a survivor. Still, Kim acknowledged the great strides she has made with time.
“Look how far you’ve come despite what they’ve had to say about you,” Kim said. “And look how far you’ve come despite what you felt. I’m proud of you.”
In this letter to herself, Kim praised her abilities to heal from the abuse.
“I’m glad that you’re able to use your pain for something good, and that you can be open and vulnerable about your past,” Kim said. “The strong don’t need vengeance or revenge, and the strong don’t need to abuse power or control… They’re individuals, and they have an authenticity about them and a light that can’t be sucked out by this world.”
Between each story of survival, other speakers extended their support through poetry. One poem, “These are My Pieces,” addressed flashbacks and how it can be difficult to find love after suffering from abuse.
Another, “The Kindness of Strangers,” discussed the difference between emotional and physical wounds. Domestic violence victims often sustain physical injuries, but have to live each day as if nothing is wrong. “The Kindness of Strangers” called attention to the emotional wounds that are paired with physical abuse.
The brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon shared their support for power-based personal violence survivors and gave a joint statement at the monologues.
“We collectively are well aware of the severity of this issue, and our organization is dedicated to reducing the instances of violence and assault,” one member said. “Our organization has continually been proactively implementing a variety of… policies at all of our events in order to further prevent and intervene in these types of situations.”
AVI will continue to raise awareness, funds and supplies for domestic violence survivors throughout October. By “Breaking the Silence,” survivors are able to aid one another in the healing process.
“Know that it gets better. You deserve better. You are not alone,” one speaker said. “You are amazing, you deserve someone who is your equal, lets you make decisions for yourself and helps you love yourself. You are worth more than what you are being given.”