‘Day of Unity’ brings awareness to domestic violence

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SPEAKING UP: Donna Armstrong shared a poem written by Kimberly A. Collins to the gathered crowd on “Day of Unity.”

College Hour took on a somber tone Thursday, Oct. 3 with the Day of Unity, marking the start of Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Organizations such as the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County, El Concilio and Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, set up booths in order to promote awareness of the resources that are available to victims of domestic violence, and for those who need a place to go in times of crisis.

“It’s a cycle, and it won’t end if you don’t take a stand,” said Jawad Yusufzai, a case manager for the Women’s Center.

All became silent midway through the event when a few Delta students shared stories of struggle and how they were able to escape from the cycle of violence.

Annalise Sanchez began by explaining the physical, mental and emotional abuse she faced with family and her partner at the time.

“They traumatize you, and you’re not able to do anything,” she said. “They hurt your feelings and try to make themselves higher than you are.”

As if to explain to the crowd about her relationship with her former partner, she continued: “I was blinded by love. Everything was all about her.”

Sanchez’s said her success was being able to get a good job and a good partner in the end.

Student Courtney Baldwin, bravely approached the microphone and told of a life starting with drug-addicted parents and leading into an abusive relationship, and later prostitution.

“You never know what you’re going to get in life,” she said. “It scared me but I’m still here, still standing.”

Baldwin paused a few times, apologizing and telling the audience she had never shared her story before.

She ended on a positive note, contributing much of her success in creating a new life for herself and starting college, with the help she got from organizations like the Women’s Center.

“It’s a lot easier, because I see a brighter future for myself,” Baldwin said. “I don’t have to lay on my back for money. It’s not hard to get out there and do what’s right.”

For those who may be still struggling with domestic violence or dealing with any other crises in life, the organizations present at Unity Day unanimously urge people to seek out their services.

“Some people don’t want to go out and talk about it – and you need to talk about it,” said Yusufzai. “If you hold it in, it keeps continuing.”