V-Day Gives Women Voice Against Violence

Sophomore Hannah Sarsony practices an attack with a professional trainer in a women’s
self defense class that was offered at RHS to women over 14 by Rape Agression Defense systems. --Meklit Bekele

Sophomore Hannah Sarsony practices an attack with a professional trainer in a women’s self defense class that was offered at RHS to women over 14 by Rape Agression Defense systems. --Meklit Bekele

Sophomore Hannah Sarsony practices an attack with a professional trainer in a women's self defense class that was offered at RHS to women over 14 by Rape Agression Defense systems. --Meklit Bekele
Sophomore Hannah Sarsony practices an attack with a professional trainer in a women’s
self defense class that was offered at RHS to women over 14 by Rape Agression Defense systems. –Meklit Bekele

This Valentine’s Day, some women will be celebrating their happy relationships, while oth ers will be celebrating their escape from escaped abusive ones.

V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and fight against domestic abuse, focuses solely on Valentine’s Day and uses it to promote healthy relationships worldwide. V-day partners with and sponsors local social move ments as well as grassroots leaders to encourage anti-violence policies.

RHSa�� National Organization for Women (NOW) vice president, junior Joanna Klinedinst is passionate about the subject and encourages the use of Valentine’s Day for the promotion of anti-violence ideas.

“The fact that [V-day] is on Valentine’s Day is really cool because it takes a holiday that cel ebrates the positive side of romantic relation ship and sexuality and utilizes the attention the holiday has to point out the darker sides of these topics,” Klinedinst said.

In another fight against domestic violence the PTSA is hoping that women’s self defense classes pick up again this spring after lack of sign-ups in the winter. In January of 2014, RHS students took classes taught by professional trainers who worked for the R.A.D. (Rape, Ag gression and Defense) System of self defense.

Sophomore Hannah Sarsony participated in the classes last year and gave positive feedback. Sarsony said, “[The classes] gave me confidence and now I feel like I could fight back and escape if I ever got attacked. I think everyone should take them.”

Along with self defense classes to defend abuse or violence, there are local organizations including the Victim Assistance and Sexual As sault Program (VASAP) in Rockville. Therapist Pat Waldron has helped women dealing with sexual assault and domestic violence since 1976.

Waldron said that though physical abuse seems to be the face of domestic violence, it is important to pay attention to the often over looked emotional stress of abusive relationships.

“Threatening doesn’t always have to be hit ting. Emotional abuse is much more traumatiz ing and common,” Waldron said.

The Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) works to inform the commu nity on what an unhealthy relationship looks like, aid victims of domestic and dating abuse, and attempts to prevent abusive relationships all together through teen dating abuse preven tion programs. JCADA Executive Director Elissa Malter Schwartz attributes the rise of discussion about domestic violence to social media.

“People are paying more attention because [domestic violence] is being discussed. For years, it was something that was behind closed doors. Now, the individuals that are suffering don’t have to suffer in silence,” Schwartz said.

The intention of Valentine’s Day is to pro mote romance in a relationship, but it is difficult to focus on this theme while there is so much violence around the world. Waldron said, “I think that violence against women and children is a pandemic in this country and the world. It is outrageous. It is a disgrace.”

*For more coverage of domestic violence, including the NFL’s fight against the issue, see rockvillerampage.com.