Bay Ridge

Brooklyn Colonial Club addresses issue of domestic violence

March 3, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Antonia Clemente, executive director of The Healing Center, and Rosemary Gabriel, coordinator of the Children’s program speak at Colonial Club meeting. Eagle photos by John Alexander

Antonia Clemente of The Healing Center Offers Frightening Statistics About Elder and Child Abuse

While you are reading this first paragraph, more than 20 people have been physically abused in a domestic setting in the U.S. In the crowded conditions of New York City — and Brooklyn — this is actually intensified.

On Thursday, the Colonial Club held its bimonthly meeting at Gino’s Restaurant at 7414 5th Ave. in Bay Ridge, and the hot topic was domestic violence. The guest speaker was Antonia Clemente, executive director and co-founder of The Healing Center. She was joined by Rosemary Gabriel, the coordinator of the center’s children’s program.

Clemente explained that The Healing Center, founded in 2000, helps individuals and families affected by domestic violence.

She shared some frightening statistics:

  • Every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten

  • An average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute

  • One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner

  • One in 10 Americans aged 60 plus have experienced some form of elder abuse

  • One in five children have been exposed to domestic violence

  • One in five teenagers have been physically abused by their boyfriends or their girlfriends.

Clemente called these statistics horrific.

The Healing Center, according to Clemente, was created in order to address the issue of domestic violence in the family. “The services that we provide are direct services working with women, children, seniors and anyone who is a victim of domestic violence,” she said.

People may come to the Healing Center if they are victims of domestic violence and they are helped by staffers who explain their rights and options to them. They also help counsel individuals about how to leave an abusive relationship.

Clemente said that domestic violence was “in the shadows of our community and in the shadows of many families.” The Healing Center helps victims better understand what is going on in their lives and what they can do about it. They assess if the person is in danger and if their lives are at risk. Clemente added that three women die every day from domestic abuse.  

They work with these individuals and provide them with options regarding how to deal with their particular situation.  They offer supportive counseling for the victim and also offer community education in schools and churches. The Healing Center is located in Bay Ridge at a confidential location because of the nature of the work they do.

Clemente said that it was very important to understand that many victims of domestic violence do not self-identify.

The Healing Center also offers programs that bring awareness of elder abuse and programs to help teenagers who witness domestic abuse in the home or who are already in a violent teenage relationship. Clemente said it was extremely important for teenagers to know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

Rosemary Gabriel, a New York state certified psychologist, spoke about the Hi 5 Children’s Project, which is sponsored by The Healing Center. She described it as a safe place for children who have been exposed to family violence. They provide individual counseling, support groups and art therapy programs for children.

The Healing Center is a sponsor of the NYC Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walk-a-Thon, which takes place on Saturday, April 22. The walk helps raise funds for the center as participants walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.