By Wendy Holdren
As a part of its awareness campaign for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Resource Center will host two free screenings of a documentary that highlights childhood domestic violence.
“The Children Next Door” will be shown Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at The Ritz Theatre in Hinton and Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre in Beckley.
“According to UNICEF, 275 million children worldwide experience childhood domestic violence (CDV) each year,” said Dee Sizemore, PR and Fundraising Development Coordinator for the WRC.
“Combined with the adults who used to be these children, close to 1 billion lives are impacted globally. You may have never heard of CDV before, at least not in that sequence, because it has never before existed to frame a category that so many people around the world belong to.”
She said researchers believe that CDV is as damaging as physical child abuse, if not more, but this issue has not been widely discussed.
“There is currently less than 10 percent awareness of the children, and since most scars are on the inside, this perpetuates lack of awareness and true understanding, leaving this issue largely unspoken about. It remains veiled in silence and reinforced by the social stigma that surrounds this topic to begin with, as many view it as simply a private matter.”
Sizemore also said Chelsea Waldroup, 16, the eldest daughter from the documentary, will be a special guest at the Oct. 3 screening in Beckley.
“People look at me as a victim — but I’m a survivor,” Chelsea said. “What I went through has made me so much stronger than I would have been otherwise. I’ve been through the worst, so what can possibly stop me now from achieving all of my dreams?”
“The Children Next Door” chronicles her family’s struggle with domestic violence and the journey to overcome the darkness.
A professional panel will also be available after each screening to discuss and answer questions about domestic violence and its effect on children.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for all who care about the well-being of children to join a movement that aims to share the secret, heal the hurt and break the cycle.”
For more information, contact Dee Sizemore at 304-255-2559.
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