Brooklyn Boro

Civil Court and Women’s Bar Association address domestic violence awareness

October 29, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the court’s gender fairness committee are shown from left: Hon. Ingrid Joseph, Renee WIlliams, Abbie Tuller, Hon. Carolyn Wade, Turquoise Haskin, Hon. Genine Edwards, Hon. Pamela Fisher, Hon. Carol Fineman, Lena Ferrera, Tyedanita McLean, District Leader Hon. Melba Brown and Assemblymember elect Roxanne J. Persaud. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

The Kings County Civil Court’s Gender Fairness Committee held a Domestic Violence 101 seminar along with the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association at the Civil Court on Livingston Street on Tuesday afternoon for judges, lawyers and members of the community.

“This is a really important subject that doesn’t just affect the people directly involved,” said Hon. Genine D. Edwards, who chairs the Gender Fairness Committee and is a board member of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar. “This affects the entire family, friends and sometimes neighbors as well. My great aunt was nearly strangled to death by her husband, and that took a toll on my entire family.

“So we wanted to host this event to show that we at the court are committed to educating everyone as to how to handle this epidemic,” she said.

Domestic violence continues to be a serious issue that is often not addressed. While men can be, and often are, victims of domestic violence, women are far more likely to be on the receiving end. In the United States, a woman is assaulted by her partner every nine seconds.

More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes, and those children, both boys and girls, are more likely to be in an abusive relationship as they get older, according to statistics provided by the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence.

After Edwards provided the opening remarks, Abbie Tuller, executive director of the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence, gave a presentation describing the different kinds of domestic violence, why women choose to stay in violent relationships and took questions from the audience. Tuller also gave helpful tips about what can be done and where and how to get help when needed.

Tuller also pointed out the four elements of a healthy relationship: respect, open communication, support and honesty. She highlighted these in contrast to the elements of a bad relationship: jealousy, control, isolation and manipulation.

“We all have something to add to this conversation and that’s really the essence of Domestic Violence Awareness Month — to bring these conversations out from behind closed doors and more into the public sphere so we can start having a dialogue.”

Tuller closed her presentation by discussing what people can do to help out when they know that a situation is taking place. She stressed that violence in a relationship is never acceptable and gave out a hotline to call, 1-800-621-HOPE, that can help place victims in confidential shelters.

After Tuller’s presentation, District Leader of Brooklyn’s 58th Assembly District Hon. Melba Brown recited a poem called “Flowers Today” about a woman who justified her husband’s abuse by repeatedly saying she knows he was sorry because he gave her flowers following incidents of abuse. The tragic poem ends at her funeral where her husband brought her flowers.

“It’s unfortunate at this point that we’re still focusing on domestic violence year after year and a whole month has to be devoted to highlight it,” said Hon. Pamela Fisher in her closing remarks. “Yet, in many respects, I think it is working. The law is changing. There are an increasing number of legal services available to deal with the issue as well as social services, and women are becoming stronger and more independent.”