L.Y. Marlow, executive director of the domestic violence awareness organzation Saving Promise, will be at the Westfield Old Orchard Mall on Saturday, Oct. 16 to host a community fair and discussion forum as part of the group’s national tour, “Gotta Talk About It.” We asked her to tell us her story — and why Chicago families should care. Get details on Saturday’s event.
In my novel, Color Me Butterfly, I share my family’s story of four generations of mothers and daughters who survived a terrible legacy of domestic violence-my grandmother who felt powerless as she watched her children being beat until they bled, oftentimes having that same belt turned on her; my mother who was given a death prognosis that came from the fierce beatings my father inflicted on her; and I, who was kicked in my eight month pregnant belly by my boyfriend’s steel-toed boot. I was the third generation of women in my family to be trapped in the cycle of violence.
Twenty two years later, my daughter became the fourth when her boyfriend tried to kill her twice and threatened the life of their daughter, Promise. His words: “I’m going to bury Promise’s body where nobody can find it.”
After realizing that the cycle was continuing into a fifth generation, I decided to turn my family’s pain into something good. Ifounded Saving Promise, a grassroots movement to make domestic violence a national priority at the same level as breast cancer awareness.
Promise, who is now 3 years old, is not alone. Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to become abusers or victims themselves. When a child witnesses violence in the home, they do not learn what it is to be in a healthy relationship.
Although many states like Illinois have introduced programs and legislation to more effectively address domestic violence and punish offenders, it’s still not enough. Still there are victims every day; still the statistics continue to be on the incline instead of the decline, with more than 30 million Americans affected each year and more than three women murdered each day by an intimate partner.
If we are ever going to realize real change, we must remove the silence and shame, be more proactive than reactive, put it out there front and center.
This is why Saving Promise is tackling the issue of domestic violence head on. With campaigns like Gotta Talk About It, we’re taking the issue to the mall, where America lives, works and plays; and a series of awareness campaigns to we aim to get America involved and talking about domestic violence beforethe next tragedy happens.
The tour is coming to Chicago on Saturday, October 16 at the Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, IL at 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Hope to see you there.
L.Y. Marlow is the Author of Color Me Butterfly (Three Rivers Press, August 3, 2010) and the Founder of Saving Promise