Domestic Violence Awareness Month Brings Survivors to the Forefront  

Detroit resident Amanda Powell survived her physically abusive boyfriend’s harsh treatment toward her and is thriving in her mobile bartending service, Purple Kissez Kreationz.  

Photo provided by Amanda Powell  

  

“I went back to being me.”  

Detroit resident Amanda Powell, 31, familiarized herself with the woman she once was after 10 years of suffering abuse at the hands of her boyfriend she met at 18 years old.  

Powell ended the relationship with her boyfriend at 28 years old when she reached her breaking point.  

“I woke up to hits,” Powell said of her lowest point with her boyfriend’s abuse toward her while she was asleep. “(That was) my worst experience … what made it turn around for me.”  

Powell’s ex-boyfriend (and the father of her 11-year-old son) viciously awoke her that night for one reason or another. Before that incident, he routinely hid her cellphone, car keys, and wallet.  

“I got a habit of sleeping with my keys and stuff like that under my pillows,” she said, adding that she is a new woman today through self-affirmations, having a relationship with God, and practicing self-care.  

“Eventually I started talking to my friends about it and broke out of my shell of not being ashamed,” she said. “They helped a lot as well with that support — a lot of them were going through the same thing.”  

Since 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month brings national attention to October to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues, according to www.ncadv.org.  

“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a sobering reminder of the harm domestic violence inflicts across our country, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic means that for many survivors, abuse may be compounded by being isolated with an abuser, loss of income, and stress over the virus itself,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “These OVW grants will provide local organizations with resources to support survivors as they heal, promote victim access to justice, and further local, state, and tribal training efforts to best prepare officials to respond to these dangerous calls.”  

Domestic violence can come in many shapes and forms with one thing in common: the aggressor is not acting out of self‐defense but rather:   

  • Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member   
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm  
  • Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, the threat of force, or duress  
  • Engaging in activity toward a family or household member would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed, or molested.   

“Domestic violence incidents are determined solely on the victim-to-offender relationship and not by the type of crime committed against the victim,” www.michigan.gov reported.  

Samantha Straub, program coordinator at Wayne-based First Step, (a non-profit organization providing offering services for victims of domestic and sexual violence) told the Michigan Chronicle that the organization offers free confidential services for domestic and sexual violence survivors throughout Wayne County.  

“Domestic violence is prevalent everywhere … but we work with survivors to empower them, provide them advocacy and free counseling,” Straub said, adding that at First Step, domestic violence survivors typically are young adult women between 20 and 30 years old.   

Powell (who fit that age demographic) said that in the middle of her domestic violence-related abuse, she started her mobile bartending service, Purple Kissez Kreationz in 2016.  

“I did a lot of pop-up shops (during) the physical abuse — had to wear a lot of makeup didn’t want to be seen in the public going through that,” Powell said, adding that (before she confided in her friends) the abuse took a mental toll on her business and social life. “It made me push my friends back.”  

Once Powell got her footing, she took a deeper dive into her business, which she has operated now five years and counting recently.  

“It felt good,” she said, adding that her business color, purple, is a nod to the same color that represents Domestic Violence Awareness Month as a symbol of peace, dignity, survival, honor, and dedication to ending domestic violence.   

 “(I) haven’t broken that down and shared with them that is what it stemmed from,” she said.  

Straub said that with COVID-19 — and the subsequent shut down — a lot of victims remained at home with their abusers instead of typically going to a shelter, a family/friend’s home, or elsewhere.  

“There has been a lack of shelter resources with COVID,” Straub said, adding that things are getting “better” when it comes to supporting survivors, and the awareness keeps coming. “This month we just like to make sure we spread the education about domestic violence and how to support survivors. The most important thing is believing survivors and supporting survivors.”  

As a survivor, Powell said that she is no longer a victim.  

“The biggest thing about sharing (my story) is I didn’t want to be looked at as a victim,” she said. “I’m a survivor and my story … is going to help somebody else.”  

Powell added that people in similar situations should know their worth.  

“Once you start to believe that you’ll start to act as if you deserve the world,” she said.  

Learn more about local services at firststep-mi.org. Learn more about the Office on Violence Against Women at www.justice.gov/ovw. 

 

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