[Domestic] Violence & sex assault summit at Smith
September 20, 2013
WWLP Channel 22
Violence & sex assault summit at Smith
By Matt Caron
Friday, September 20, 2013
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Activists, advocates and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault assembled at Smith College in Northampton today. It was an all-day summit.
The goal was to strengthen the support system for victims looking to recover from domestic violence and sexual assault, with a specific focus on economic security.
Funded through federal grant money, more than 120 people from anti-violence and anti-poverty organizations throughout rural western Massachusetts came together at the Smith College Conference Center.
They exchanged ideas, tried to strengthen a victim's support system, and put a special focus on a survivor's financial stability.
"Financial abuse is a real thing and it's part of the picture of domestic violence. When someone intentionally puts credit in someone's name of steals their identity or controls all the finances. All of those things can be categorized under financial abuse and there's long-term implications for that," said Marianne Winter, the Executive Director of Safe Passage in Northampton.
Advocates told 22News that financial abuse can often trap victims into making them feel like there's no way to break the cycle.
"Lack of transportation. Lack of affordable childcare. Lack of affordable housing. Lack of jobs that provide benefits. There's a great deal of things that people whose lives have been shattered and are trying to rebuild them, need," said Becca Bradburd, an Economic Security Consultant.
Cynda Pinto is a survivor of Domestic Violence. She's been through these struggles, and has some words of advice for other victims.
"Don't ever think that he's going to change. Because he won't. Don't ever accept it as being a one time thing, because it will happen again and to really love yourself before anyone else, because if you love yourself you won't let anyone mistreat you," said Pinto.
Friday's conference wrapped up at 4:00PM. Organizers told 22News they'll take what they learned, and put it into practice to help victims stop the cycle of abuse.