Not Silent, Not Alone

Amy Daumit suffered in an abusive relationship for nearly 20 years. Today she works to help people find a different way.

The Forget Me Not flower is a small, unassuming blue bloom, named for the mission not to forget the suffering, the poor and the needy. This flower and its heavy meaning is embedded in a Fort Lauderdale woman’s mission to educate her community about domestic violence.

Amy Daumit, 40, works at Expresso Coffee. She’s in a happy relationship, has earned multiple degrees, and her laugh is infectious. You’d never know that eight years ago, she left an abusive relationship that lasted nearly 20 years. Because of her experience, she formed the Forget Me Not Advocacy Group for domestic violence prevention.

“Abuse still sadly hides in the shadow,” she says. “It’s easier to ignore the screaming going on next door than to intervene or help, because ‘It’s not my business.’ But people don’t realize it is your business.”

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October Activism — Domestic Violence Awareness

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!

 

The Advocate: Somy Ali

The one-time Bollywood actress and model stepped away from the bright lights to be a beacon of hope for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.

This October, in addition to a sea of people wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, some — like Somy Ali — will be donning purple. She’s doing so during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to make that affliction part of the national conversation.

Ali is the founder of No More Tears, a Miami- and Plantation-based nonprofit that has saved more than 2,600 children, women, and men from physical and sexual abuse since its inception in 2007. Her goal is to set them on paths toward independent, fulfilling lives.

“Give them a bed is not enough,” Ali said. “No More Tears’ model is we give them the tools. We’re going to teach you how to fish.”

Ali was born and raised in Pakistan. She moved with her mother and younger brother to the United States when she was 12, but the stubborn girl had a crush on a Bollywood actor. Determined to meet him, Ali moved to India. She became an actress and a model, and she was even engaged to the actor for a time.

Read the rest at MiamiIndulge online.