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October 22, 2008

Night at The Village: Thinking About Domestic Violence

MariaThe pre-conference event for The Women's Conference, Night at The Village, was absolutely inspiring.  I am so buzzed from the experience and I can't wait to drive back down to Long Beach for more!  I'm hoping there's less traffic on the 405 next time... but it's the 405, what can you do?

All nightmarish traffic musings aside, in her welcoming remarks, Maria Shriver talked about how October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  As the mother of two boys, I really appreciated how she referred to the importance of educating your daughters about the signs of a guy who's prone to being an abuser AND to the importance of talking to your sons about what it means to be a good man.  How to educate men to recognize the inherent nobility and equality of women is something I think about a great deal because I have so many friends who have been severely abused by husbands and boyfriends, and I'm married to someone who saw his father and step-father abuse his mother.  I don't want my sons to grow up being the perpetrators of abuse.  None of us do.  But how do we as mothers ensure that it doesn't happen?

It really touched me to see Maria present checks for $10,000 each to two Long Beach organizations that assist abused women, Interval House and the Women's Shelter of Long Beach.   The money for the checks came from the conference registration fees, meaning that all of the women who are attending are also getting to contribute to a good cause!  It makes sense because, as Maria shared, domestic violence, "Knows no economic group, knows no racial group.  It can happen to any of us." 

Indeed, as I looked around the room at the diverse faces of the women who came out for this conference, I knew that, statistically, so many are survivors of abuse.  And surely also present are those women who, sadly enough, are still in abusive relationships. 

Well, the conference goal is to, "Empower and inspire women to become architects of change."  I hope any attendee in an abusive relationship can be inspired and empowered to walk away, for both her own well-being and the well-being of her children.

Yup, the Women's Conference is definitely inspiring and gosh, I absolutely LOVED getting free brownies from the Safeway folks, but I'm so glad that there's a deeper meaning and purpose to it all.  I can't wait to share more with you all via live blogging.

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