It was almost seven years ago that I got an email from Laura Finley, a board member of South Florida-based No More Tears, pitching me a story about the nonprofit and its founder, Somy Ali. A former Bollywood actress, she founded the charity from the ground up and has been helping people in violent relationships leave their abusers. I decided to pursue the story on Ali, and after the interview, we probably ended up talking for another hour. We just hit it off and we’ve stayed friends ever since.
A few months ago, I brought up the idea to highlight No More Tears to my editor at Indulge magazine. I told him I didn’t even need to write the story, I just thought it was a worthy cause and something different to highlight for our October issue. He assigned me the story, which can be tough to write since survivors often have such heartbreaking stories that some glossies want to turn their head away from. But here it is, October, and the spread came out the same day that No More Tears’ inaugural Heart in Hand Awards was hosted in Miami.
Personally, I have not experienced domestic violence. I’m in a loving relationship with a man who respects me, and I grew up in a home with parents who were partners through good and bad. However, I have known women who were in relationships with men who abused them physically or emotionally. It’s frustrating, heartbreaking, and angering to see someone abuse a person they supposedly love.
Domestic violence is not something that can be undone by throwing money at the problem — it’s a tangled web of issues that is more complicated than my simple post. But, here are great ways to help in your community:
- No More Tears is my charity of choice because of the one-on-one help the nonprofit gives to survivors, as well as the continuing support to help survivors get legal help, an education, medical workups, and the tools they need to support themselves. Monetary donations are always the most helpful, but volunteering your talents, time, and in-kind donations are always appreciated.
- Women in Distress is a domestic violence center in Fort Lauderdale, providing survivors with shelter, counseling, and training for survivors. They host a number of events throughout the year, including its annual Safe Run/Walk in the spring.
- The South Broward Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority is hosting a domestic violence community event on Oct. 15 at Broward College. The women will be continuing the conversation about domestic violence, as well as collecting donations for survivors such as baby supplies, cell phones, toiletries, purses, and other everyday items.
- Every February, Barry University hosts a College Brides Walk. Men and women dress in wedding attire and walk 6 miles, as well as participant in workshops to discuss how to break the cycle of violence. The walk was inspired by the death of Gladys Ricart, who was shot to death on her wedding day by an ex-boyfriend — she was finishing up taking photographs in her gown before heading out to get married.
- Perhaps the most important thing is to practice what you preach — speak up when you see violence, offer a helping hand to a friend you think might be hurting, and teach the children in your life how to respect others and themselves.
NEXT WEEK: October is also LGBT History Month!