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ECU organizes domestic violence forum

GREENVILLE, NC   (Feb. 18, 2004)   —   Domestic violence in the African American community will be the focus of a town hall-style meeting scheduled for Feb. 26 at East Carolina University.

Sponsored by ECU's College of Human Ecology and the Division of Academic Affairs, "Opening the Dialogue: Responding to Domestic Violence Among African Americans in Eastern North Carolina," aims to open lines of communication about domestic abuse across Eastern North Carolina.

"We've asked people throughout Eastern North Carolina, and Fayetteville, to join us in a focus group and respond to the questions asked of them," said Linner Griffin, School of Social Work professor and forum organizer. "We hope to get a sense of what domestic violence is for African Americans in rural areas and identify the problems unique to them." The forum will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hendrix Auditorium in ECU's Mendenhall Student Center. The public is invited to attend.

The town hall meeting will follow a daylong focus group session that will help the National Steering Committee for the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community glean information about domestic abuse as it exists in rural areas.

Griffin, who is also a member of the institute steering committee, said rural areas have unique challenges when dealing with domestic abuse.

"I would imagine, there are issues with accessibility to services needed, either to treat perpetrators of violence, or access to shelters," she said. "There needs to be easy access for those who need to leave a situation. But in some areas, five counties share one shelter. And in others, no services are available."

In addition to receiving input about domestic abuse from a rural perspective, Griffin hopes to start a dialogue among the region's health and social workers, law enforcement representatives and religious leaders.

"To have an opportunity to make contacts, it's just wonderful," she said. "Eastern North Carolina is not a city; it's a community. And we need people to come together from different parts of our community."

In the past three years, the domestic violence institute has conducted community assessments in many urban communities, including San Francisco; St. Paul, Minn.; Birmingham, Ala., and Detroit. Griffin convinced her fellow board members that rural communities should be given an opportunity to provide input for the challenges they face when dealing with domestic abuse.

While the daylong session is closed to the public, the town meeting, said Griffin, will open opportunities for the entire community to provide input on domestic abuse, as they relate to topics raised by a panel of experts on the subject. Microphones will be available in the aisles at the videotaped meeting, she said. The second level of Hendrix Auditorium will be reserved for those who wish to participate but do not want to be videotaped. Free parking and a shuttle bus are available from the Belk Building parking lot on Charles Boulevard near Greenville Boulevard.

Presenters for the Town Hall meeting include:

* William Oliver of Indiana University and Charles Pinckney of St. Augustine University: "Black Youth in the Rural South: Hip Hop, Street Culture and Crime in the African American Community."
* Joyce D. Dickerson of North Carolina A&T State University: "Domestic Violence on the College Campus: Reflections of an Innovative Social Work Program Making a Difference."
* Esther J. Jenkins of Chicago State University: "Overview of Community Violence Literature and Consequences of Exposure to Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment."
* Beth E. Richie of the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Intersection of Domestic Violence, Black Women and I


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481