Domestic Violence Awareness


SBCW's Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk

October 21, 2018

Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on October 29, 2017

Sunday October 29, 2017:

  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS- Wetherill Historic Site, South Brunswick

  • Sunday October 29, 2017 saw men and women of all ages gather at the Wetherill Historic
  • Site in South Brunswick to show their support in the fight against domestic violence .The Domestic Violence Event 2017
  • supported by the South Brunswick Women’s Commission had a great turnout. Members of the
  • South Brunswick community dressed in purple, gathered at the venue despite the rainy day.
  • Guest speakers at the event included an officer from the South Brunswick Police Department and
  • a representative of Women Aware, the largest NPO serving battered women in Middlesex
  • County. In addition, there were two notable speeches from domestic violence survivors who
  • shared their story and struggles. Evidently, their stories touched the hearts of all individuals
  • present. They left with new knowledge and experience to learn from as well as the
  • inclination to do more. The gathering was an example of the South Brunswick community being
  • educated on community issues that pertained to every individual. The event was a reflection of
  • the values of equality and generosity that were exemplified my members of the South Brunswick
  • township.



Margit Haas-Rethage, Chairwoman of SBCW welcomed the participants and introduced Tawanna Potts, the woman who since many years is very active in organizing the yearly event. She shared her experience of watching domestic violence within her daughter’s caretaker’s house. She asserted how much a small gesture or message affects the lives of those who have survived violence. Clearly, domestic violence is a serious crime that needs to be discussed. Every action we take against it counts.


The police chief highlighted the prevalence of domestic violence crimes across New Jersey, mentioning that an act of domestic violence occurs within our state about every 7 minutes. He asserted how proud he was to protect innocent domestic violence survivors from the harmful, malicious actions of perpetrators. The most important message he wanted to pass on was to not be afraid or hesitant to speak out if you are in fear of experiencing abuse and violence.

Woman Aware:

Maria Betanzanos, the Assistant Executive Director for Woman Aware, who has had spent years in social work helping women who have suffered through domestic violence, gave a heart-warming speech about the actions we can take to prevent instances of spousal abuse. She mentioned that Woman Aware is the lead domestic violence agency in Middlesex County, and highlighted their legal advocates, private counseling programs for children and adults, 24/7 hotline, immigration attorneys and community education programs. Betanzanos urged teenagers to pay attention to dating violence, as statistics show that young women are most in danger of experiencing domestic violence within the ages of 16-24. According to Betanzanos, domestic violence thrives when we are silent. It is our duty to speak up, both for ourselves and others.


The first woman’s harrowing personal story of having gone through emotional and physical abuse from her ex-husband made her realize that there is no excuse for inflicting abuse. Domestic violence is cross-cultural, encompasses all nations, races and social classes; there are no barriers which it escapes. The first woman began to notice the telltale signs of abuse when her then husband started enforcing rules which required her to ask for permission to step out of the house and call her family. He left her and their young daughter for days with no food in the house, and began hitting and curing her. The first woman shared that it our duty to speak up and give our voice to this dangerous issue. We need to break the cycle of domestic abuse by starting with this generation.


Another woman, connected to Woman Space, shared her heart-breaking personal story of having experienced severe physical violence and emotional trauma in her marriage. She mentioned the inner psychological suffering she dealt with for years, as well as the pain of not being able to speak up for herself. She asserted that without the help of her neighbors and other people, who spoke up for her, and called the police when her ex-husband hit her, she would have not been where she is right now. The survivor urged everyone to speak up about domestic violence, and not treat it as a taboo.


Joyce Mehta, who is a lawyer with years of social work experience, talked about Manavi, an organization that serves the needs of South Asian women who are victims of violence. South Asian women, in particular, are unable to seek help from local authorities because of their cultural and migrational barriers. Manavi has legal advocacy which is specifically trained to represent South Asian women in court and a shelter

  • Domestic violence affects all people, crossing racial, ethnic, and gender boundaries
  • Young girls are especially at risk
  • Domestic violence thrives when people are silent
  • All people are affected by it, emotionally or physically
  • The journey is tough, but it is made easier with the help of loved ones
  • We need to encourage and empower women to talk about their situations