GREENBELT – Like many women at The Love Walk 5k in Greenbelt on Saturday, domestic violence has left a massive footprint in the life of Mignon Anderson.
Anderson’s daughter died in 2007 at the age of 18 at the hands of her boyfriend.
After the death of her daughter, Anderson established the Lakisha Brown Foundation in 2007. The organization aims not only to honor her slain daughter but also to address self-esteem and abandonment issues that often lead girls and women into unhealthy relationships.
The Love Walk 5k, a domestic violence awareness event, took place at Greenbelt Park where roughly 100 women climbed hills and endured a steady sheet of rain that could not wash away the memories of loved ones affected by spousal abuse and violence.
Seven years ago, Anderson’s group partnered with Carolyn Washington, founder of the Sister4Sister program, a similar organization that seeks to empower young women. The goal of the collaboration is raise awareness to the fact that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time many people are too ashamed to acknowledge.
“A lot of people don’t even really understand that this is domestic violence … this is their love language,” Anderson said. “Their mothers were abused; their grandmothers were abused; their aunties, their cousins, and it’s just a way of life.”
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, most female victims of domestic violence were previously victimized by the same offender.
Anderson said love often leads to tragedy. Her niece was shot four times and killed by a rage-filled boyfriend at a bus stop in 2012. During a one-year stretch between 2012 and 2013, 12 people lost their lives at the hands of domestic killers.
“Through that tragedy, and also myself, I am a survivor of domestic violence … when I go out to the community to talk, it’s about those generational curses that get passed on,” Anderson said.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly one in four women has experienced domestic violence in the lifetime.
Washington said 40 percent of the homicides in Prince George’s County are domestic-violence related. According to Prince George’s County police, the department received 10,000 domestic calls in 2013. Since then, Prince George’s authorities have worked to chip away at the high domestic violence numbers in the county.
Prince George’s police officials said the number of domestic violence calls has dropped to approximately 7,500, so far in 2014.
Washington hopes those numbers will continue to fall, along with the reluctance on the part of victims to report occurrences of domestic violence.
“The rain symbolizes the tears that many women cry every nine seconds when they are assaulted,” Washington said. “The rain basically symbolizes their will be no more silent tears.”
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