Monday, 15 October 2018

Domestic Violence: 50 Shades of Blue Baltimore

Arlene Major is the founder of 50 Shades of Blue Baltimore, an organisation which supports people all year round who are experiencing domesting violence. They hold an annual event in Baltimore, MD, and support everyone regardless of gender, race or any other difference. I caught up with Arlene recently.

When, where and how did you get involved with your organisation?

My organization, 50 Shades of Blue Baltimore, is my brainchild that I created in 2014. I wanted to give back in a way that would make a difference.

Why did you start 50 Shades of Blue Baltimore? 

I started to think of all that I had been through in my life before turning 50 and having survived domestic violence ( 4x) and attempted sexual assault (1x) I knew I had to do it. I turned 50 and my favorite color is blue. My friends came up with the rest.

How do you define domestic violence?

Well, we all know the standard definition of domestic violence or IPV as it is now labeled.  I define it as a silent epidemic.

As you read that last statement, you may have thought of someone you know who is experiencing some level of domestic violence in their relationship. In 2017, when we’ve come so far as a society, domestic violence is still a taboo subject. 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner (as reported by the NCADV). In 2015, Baltimore City and County Uniform Crimes reported 11,267 domestic related crimes.

If those numbers aren’t frightening enough, our current administration is looking to cut 10.5 trillion dollars over the next decade from the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which currently funds programs that are established to help save victims lives and hold their attackers accountable. If this happens, where does that leave our mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins and best friends. We must stand up, unite and act now!

What has been your involvement with domestic violence, either at work or in your private life?

I have experienced domestic violence personally.  I have never experienced it in the work place. I have had instances where I put myself in harms way to stop a potential fight and other times where I have attempted to help someone to no avail.  I am always available to provide resources and connect people with others in their area that may be able to help them here or abroad.

What are the most common causes of domestic violence?

Usually, what I see is control.  I am the man and you are the woman type things.  I also see in same sex relationships one who believes they are the dominant in the relationship.  Money issues, trauma in childhood or even adulthood and family issues can contribute to the violence.  With all the statistics that are out there, how can we ignore something that is so multilayered as this?

Do you think domestic violence is increasing? Why or why not?

I do think it is increasing in that we have a judicial system that is still stuck in the “old days”.  We also have many citizens that see domestic violence as a private matter and say nothing when they see it out in public.  A blind eye is turned if men are victims. Too many women who don’t get their way will use domestic violence like a get out of jail free card and the sports world is to lienient with its players and violations. We need better laws, better gun laws and stronger violation stipulations and more ways to keep victims free of their abusers.

What services does your organisation offer?

Our event is yearly.  Throughout the year, we can offer resources.  We are working to put in workshops, classes and other sessions geared toward not only the victim but the survivor and the survivor's family as well.

How do people get in touch with you and access your services?

I am all over social media.  I encourage others if they are willing to share their story, with anonymity or not, I put those on my survival story page of my website. I also have a forum where anyone can post a question or email me to ask a question.

(See below for links.)

What outcomes do you achieve? Give us a couple of examples.

What happens when others attend my event is that they feel comfortable and open up and feel empowered to share their story with me or with one of my speakers.  One of my speakers who has been with me for the last two conferences was very shy but wanted to participate. She brought her children because they witnessed what mommy went through.  Each time she shares her story, she feels a level of release or what I call healing. She tells me everytime that she is grateful for this event and wished more people really understood what domestic violence really is.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan so far for 2019 is to take this conference to the DC/VA area.  My ultimate goal is to become a global entity that partners with other agencies and provides a safe place for others to share their stories, get information, get pampered and leave feeling that they are equipped to face the world.

Any other comments?

I am a published author.  I have my story in a few books, including my own, called Lady BluePrint.  I currently have a workbook that is being finalized called Outlasted, Walking thru Your Pain and Purpose.  I plan to begin healing workshops with this workbook and also include, therapy yoga, vision boards, sip and paints and talk sessions as well. I would like to This is great, Arlene.  I do healing workshops as well.  Your work is so important.  There's a great deal of need for what you do.  
To contact Arlene and 50 Shades of Blue Baltimore, go to:
IG:  @50shadesofbluebmore (direct message)
Twitter:  50shadesofblue3
FB: (Best way to reach her via messenger)
Telephone:  443-579-5401 (google. If I don’t answer, leave a message and I will return your call)

1 comment:

  1. Go here for more from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2018: