Bronx leaders host ‘boots on the ground’ forum against domestic violence

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Bronx political, educational and economic leaders have taken a power stand to combat domestic violence throughout the Bronx and elsewhere this week.

Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Monroe College School of Criminal Justice, Montefiore Health System, Violence Intervention Program and Safe Horizon held a “boots on the ground” forum where experts and survivors voiced advice and facts to the many virtual attendees.

Clark, who is a former law professor at Monroe, called the fight against domestic violence to be a “Herculean effort” as COVID-19 has pushed such instances further behind closed doors than any other time in recent history.

Diaz reiterated that sentiment, priding his Bronx community for coming together “even when we don’t want to.”

Addressing a massive spike in Bronx homicides and domestic violence, Diaz hoped for contagious courage to publicly address and cure these issues as domestic violence no longer is a “little dark secret.”

One expert speaker, mother, and author Doreen Lesane shared her own powerful story from a time when she was abused herself.

Bronx DA Darcel Clark speaks during the forum.Screenshot

She explained that victims who face “blame and shame” are often manipulated psychologically, financially and physically and cannot simply “just leave” their hostile environment.

Citing 13 recent intimate partner homicides in the Bronx, Lesane also discussed how victims endure physiological and emotional torture from abuse to a point where many enter a “survival mode” and “mental reprogramming,” that causes the average victim to reject their self identity.

In Lesane’s case, her experience left longtime issues of depression, anger, confusion and hopelessness as result of the shell-shocking abuse she had endured.

It had reached the point where she “couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad guys” afterwards. 

Lesane also explained how her son was also inadvertently a victim to similar abuses, as are many men who do not come forward, calling domestic violence against males to be a “ugly, silent truth.”

In time, she was able to trust again and learned “how to be,” Lesane said, passing on the message that “what happened to you is not your fault…do the best that you can until you can do better.”

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