The fight to end domestic violence

Photo by Jeylin White                               
Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute class of 2012, organized a 5K walk for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Photo by Jeylin White Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute class of 2012, organized a 5K walk for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Though breast cancer has its devastating effects on women, another hard-hitting epidemic is domestic violence. Which is one of the reasons Terrance Campbell suggested his 2012 Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute (GRLI) class host a 5K walk.

“It is something that has affected me on a personal level,” said Campbell.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and on average three women are killed every day by their partners. In Clayton County, nearly 800 deaths this year have been the result of domestic violence, according to Campbell.

October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness month but it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness month. So the GRLI class, as part of their class project, organized a walk to help bolster the initiative.

The event took place at the Morrow Path Trail located at 5917 Reynolds Road, on an early Saturday morning. Nearly 50 people registered for the walk, which raised $2,000 for Securus House, a local shelter for domestic violence victims in Morrow.

Campbell said a few organizations and dignitaries came out Saturday morning to offer words of encouragement and bring awareness to the fight to end domestic violence. One of those in attendance was Jackie Dodson, founder of Restoring the Love Again, Inc., a domestic violence organization based in Stockbridge.

“A lot of times women will not report the abuse out of fear,” said Dodson. She said it was her own personal story of abuse that led her to become an advocate for women who are victims of domestic violence and homelessness.

Dodson said her high school sweetheart, to whom she was married for 14 years, abused her. She said it started off subtle. First, it was the verbal abuse, then emotional, and finally it became physical. Dodson said it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her son that she decided to leave.

“I think I said something to him while I was pregnant with my son one day, I looked up and he smacked me across the face,” said Dodson.

She added she didn’t want her daughter or her son to grow up in a physically abusive household.

“According to statistics, my son is more likely to become an abuser and my daughter is likely to be abused,” she said. “I told myself I was going to break that cycle.”

She said her husband grew up in an abusive household. “His father would constantly beat his mother, so he got it honest.”

Dodson said she maintains a limited relationship with her children’s father.

Campbell said the purpose for the walk was to join in with communities across the country who honored those whose lives were taken by domestic violence.

“For this being our first walk, it was very successful. The community really came together to help support us,” said Campbell.

The GRLI is a program for those who are interested in community development, local government, and learning leadership skills.

The 2012 class participants included: Terrance Campbell-PR Chair, Teresa Tillman-Class Chair, Bishop Andrew Holliday, Courtney McFarlane, Jameka Fields, Mary Dewberry- Class Vice Chair, Sunceree Ravenell, Giovanna Alston, Cori Collins, LaShonda Dillard, Katrina Brantley and Twanna Nelson.