SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - The South Brunswick Commission on Women held their annual walk to raise awareness of Domestic Violence last week. The walk began at the South Brunswick Senior Center and tracked about one mile to the neighboring schools and back. Before the walk began, the commission hosted several guest speakers who shared personal stories and shared information about domestic violence. The committee collected donations of feminine products and other resources and put them into shoe boxes. The boxes will be delivered to Womanspace Inc, a non-profit organization which provides services for victims of domestic violence in the Mercer County area.

            The event featured a long list of guest speakers both from local government, such as Deputy Mayor Joe Camarota and Assemblyman Roy Frieman, as well as prominent members of the community, such as Board of Education member Azra Baig and Girl Scout troop leader Tawana Sampson. This is the only event that the Commission does to raise awareness of domestic violence, but they are in attendance at South Brunswick's national ‘Night Out’ and will hold a women’s conference in March to empower girls from eighth to twelfth grade.

            Joyce Mehta is the recording secretary for the Commission and a member of the South Brunswick Board of Education. Before beginning her opening speech,  Mehta held up her phone and set a timer nine seconds. Mehta explains that every nine second in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. She goes onto say that more women are injured in domestic violence per year in the US than in car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

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            “No level of violence is acceptable, it comes down to power used by one person in a relationship to control another as a means to dominate their victims. “The main object of this walk is to support women and provide the with useful resources. To draw attention to this disease and let everyone know that it is unacceptable”

            Susan Adams, the Coordinator of Volunteers & Community Outreach at Womanspace Inc, was another guest speaker before the walk. Adams compared being an abuser to cancer that needs to be treated. She advocates for more funding for programs to help those who are abusers, such as therapeutic treatments, in an effort to stop the behavior in its tracks and to prevent more abuse from happening.

            Assemblyman Roy Frieman made a surprise appearance at the event and told the audience that this issue was personal to him and his family. The Assemblyman was wearing a purple ribbon on his lapel which he explained was made out the cloth of his daughter’s Halloween dress when she was six years old. Frieman told the crowd that his daughter was in an abusive relationship that he and his wife were unaware of.

            “Anything that we can do to create a safer environment for these women in these relationships and these families we have to do, and anything that we can do to make sure these bastards realize that there is no tolerance for this.” Frieman said “I really appreciate what this committee does and the women who are brave enough to come forward.”