Local Advocate hosts ‘Strength, Courage and Wisdom’ Forum Against Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence and Abuse as a Abstract

By Edward Henderson

edward-1-150x150October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The epidemic has been prevalent for decades and plastered on the national consciousness due to the transgressions of high profile athletes and entertainers. According to the American Psychological Association, 4,774,000 women in the U.S. experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year. This violence came to the doorstep of our community last week with the murder of Vanessa Bobo by her boyfriend in Lake Murray. Community member and domestic violence survivor JoAnn Fields is hosting an event Thursday, October 27th from 4:30-7pm at the Care Community Center on 12 North Euclid (next to Wrigley’s Supermarket) to create the space for healing and offer information on how to escape a potentially dangerous situation.

JoAnn Fields
JoAnn Fields

Fields was visiting with a friend recently discussing the upcoming awareness month when India Arie’s song ‘Strength, Courage and Wisdom’ came on in the background.

“It really spoke to me because I am a domestic violence survivor myself,” Fields said.

“I made a post on Facebook to see who would be willing to share their stories at an event. Behind the scenes, people responded and I was surprised by the number that did.”

The event will start with icebreakers and an opportunity for the group to get comfortable with each other before stories are shared. Testimonies will be heard from three local women: Licensed Educational Psychologist, Dr. Vangie Akridge; Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper Co-Publisher Chida Darby; and  Marketing Director, Vilavavanh Sanginthirath , followed by a Q&A. Resources for information and healthcare will be present as well.

Dr. Vangie Akridge
Dr. Vangie Akridge

“There’s a lot of challenges one may go through when they think about leaving. I feel that when

Chida Darby
Chida Darby

people share their testimony, they may be able to relate and know that I can do this because these women have gone through it and survived it.”

Fields can relate to the difficulties that come with leaving a toxic situation. She was living with her husband in Navy housing with four children when the abuse started. The blended and young military family were facing a lot of stress weren’t dealing with it well.

“I was told to get a restraining order and when I did, my ex-started to take stuff out the house, closed our bank accounts and took our car keys. Because of the restraining order, I was told I couldn’t come back home. They tried to put my kids out on the street.”

Vilavanh Sanginthirath
Vilavanh Sanginthirath

Fields was able to connect with resources to advise her on moves to regain her stability. By her own

admittance, given better information, a lot of the headache and struggle with her housing situation could have been avoided. Her experience was even more fuel to put on this event on the 27th.

“This is the time to have courage and show your strength to share how you got through this. There are women going through it and once they hear a story then hopefully they will get help. It’s a dangerous situation when you are in that type of relationship.” In ‘Strength, Courage and Wisdom’ Arie sings:


It’s time to step out on faith
I gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long
Freedom is mine today

Events like these are important to show up not just for the information and healing, but for the declaration of freedom from fear and building a powerful community that is ready to support and love you. For more information on this free community event, email JoAnn at: joann.fields@gmail.com. This event is free and open to the public.


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