Helping Victims Find A Voice
By Juliet Lighter, founder, Women Speaking Out
At the age of 15, I became a victim of domestic violence. As years passed, I realized that domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.
After winning the title of Miss Hawaii USA in 2001, I was instilled with a newfound surge of confidence. So in 2007, I founded Women Speaking Out (WSO) a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to the public education of domestic violence. Our mission is to educate young women between the ages of 15 and 25 about dating violence through an interactive curriculum focused on teaching intervention techniques and developing leadership skills. Unlike other organizations, WSO uses fashion, beauty, art and music as tools to empower, educate and influence young women to maintain an active voice in the community.
National statistics show that females ages 16 to 24 are almost three times more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group.
Intimate partner violence among adolescents is associated with increased risk of substance use, weight control problems, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy and suicide.
On Sunday, along with Q Laser and Fashionista’s Market, we will host “Spa for a Cause,” a spa event to promote the awareness of domestic violence in which guests can indulge in three spa services. Spa options include 30-minute massage, 20-minute neck and shoulder massage, laser hair removal, laser rejuvenation, teeth whitening, hair blow outs, nail art, oxygen facial and brow waxing. Guests also will enjoy pupus, a dessert bar by local vendors, specialty cocktails and shopping at one of Hawaii’s finest local boutiques, Fashionista’s Market. Local fashion expert Crystal Pancipanci also will be on hand to style shoppers in the latest fashion trends. The proceeds will go directly to fund educational programs for young women.
Other WSO annual events include Shop for a Cause and the Speak Out Art Gala.