Domestic abuse speaker takes center stage

By Amanda Gonzalez
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Valencia Community College took part in sexual responsibility week. Darlene Barriere made an appearance at Valencia’s East Campus to give a presentation on abuse prevention and recovery, topics that go hand in hand with the Get into Reading book choice, “Push.”

Barriere began her presentation by making it very clear that she was a victim of child abuse and sexual assault herself. “I really wanted what happened to me to have purpose. What better way than to share my story,” said Barriere. “Awareness helps you to understand and make better choices.”

Among abuse and recovery issues Barriere covered were the effects of alcohol and its presence in many rape cases, the shame that victims of abuse feel, as well as the blame they put on themselves, and the more modern issue of sexting.

Other topics that Barriere addressed with particular importance were those of dating violence and consent. Attendees were informed that sexual awareness can make all the difference in becoming a victim of sexual assault. Barriere continued to speak of free will being something that cannot be threatened, and stressed the importance of consent, as well as what can and cannot be considered consent.

Barriere felt she could relate to the fictional character from “Push,” Precious Jones, because Barriere was scared to speak out at first. Barriere happened to be one of the victims who believed society would put the blame on her and look at her in a negative light.

“I thought they were going to blame me,” said Barriere, “because it wasn’t just my parents I thought it would come from; I thought it would come from my friends too.”

Marilyn Friedland, a student at Valencia, shared her thoughts on the presentation and the ways in which it relates to “Push.” “The situation with the mom and Precious in the book, that’s someone you trust, that’s someone that’s your family member and they still turn their back on you,” said Friedland. “She also has really low self-esteem, like the speaker was talking about that those people get targeted more often.”

David Novalis, a peer educator at Valencia, was part of the group that made Barriere’s appearance at Valencia possible.

“We already had a lead on her, someone already knew about her, so we contacted her. We had tables outside on Tuesday and Wednesday and we made the brochures,” said Novalis.

More information on Barriere and her work on abuse prevention and recovery can be found at http://www.darlenebarriere.com and http://child-abuse-effects.com. Barriere can also be found on Twitter under the name of HealFromAbuse.