Dr. Cheryl Watkins, MBA, President & Chief Executive Officer, YWCA
Approximately one in three women and one in four men will experience some form of intimate partner dating violence or domestic violence in their lifetime. It is a very good chance that someone you know is a survivor or maybe suffering in silence. Some people have a hard time coming forward and getting help because the abuser is a loved one which makes it hard to identify the abuse happening in their relationship which can be a form of denial. Violence is not always physical and sometimes domestic abuse is emotional such as degrading name calling or threats. There is also financial abuse such as controlling or severely limiting access to money or finances.
The artwork on the t-shirts were created by survivors of domestic violence and showcases their expression of their journey and healing. The different colors of the shirts represent the different forms of domestic abuse.
To commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month the YWCA Metro St. Louis invited the community to join them for an aspiring event called: Advocates & Allies: Community Response & Vigil for Domestic Violence. This event took place on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:00pm at The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station.
It can be difficult to know what to do whether you are a victim yourself or you may know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence and abuse. YWCA Metro St. Louis is the region’s leading advocate for the safety, security and stability of women and children serving approximately 11,000 women, girls and families annually.
The mission of YWCA is eliminating racism and empowering women. YWCA also offers housing for homeless women; crisis intervention; rapid re-housing for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence; Head Start and childhood education; services for pregnant women and racial justice educational programs.
YWCA Metro St. Louis is not just a service provider it is a beacon of hope for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. With a steadfast dedication to its mission of empowering women and eliminating racism, YWCA is the only dual-services agency (domestic violence and sexual assault) in the St. Louis region, offering comprehensive support to survivors in their time of need.
During her speech Dr. Cheryl Watkins spoke about “the need for people in the community to let our elected officials know that they must not cut funding for victims of violence, trafficking and abuse”. Dr. Watkins was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s, Most Influential Business Women back in June 2023.
Other distinguished guests at the event were: Samantha Wayant who is the Community Engagement Manager at YWCA Metro St. Louis; Lieutenant Thomas Muldrow of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and Kathryn Harvath of the Emergency Department Forensics Program at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.