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Domestic Violence Survivors Rising Up


“Domestic Violence Awareness - Not Just for October”


It often begins verbally or sometimes through controlling behavior, but little by little the abuse escalates and before you know it you are trapped in an abusive relationship. Without realizing it you’ve become another person affected by domestic violence.


So many fatalities have occurred as a result of domestic violence incidents. When Dorothy Stepnowska and Bella Matias first met the topic of discussion was an incident that had occurred in their neighborhood that brought them together. They were both domestic violence survivors and they knew they needed to do something to make a real impactful change. Dorothy and Bella are now on a mission to help stop this vicious cycle.


They organized an event for Domestic Violence survivors. The 1st Annual Rise Up Against Domestic Violence Survivors Conference. On Monday, Oct 24th, 2022, Dorothy Stepnowska, Bella Matias, and other domestic violence survivors coordinated the event. They gathered together, in the first steps toward change and healing. In a unique and intense moment, Domestic Violence Survivors came forward and spoke publicly about their experiences. The event consisted of a balloon release for the lives lost, a candlelight vigil, and prayer led by Deacon Carlos Garcia. It was a raw testimony from survivors that shared their domestic violence experiences, and their demands for legislative change.



The Rise Up Against Domestic Violence Survivors Conference was well attended with additional guests that came forward, including state senator Joe Addabbo, VIP Mujeres (Violence Intervention Program) from the mayor’s public engagement unit for domestic violence victims, Deputy Commissioner of Homeless Services Darma Diaz, NYC mayor’s office Human Rights Commission, Lawyer and community advocate Mike Scala and of course most importantly survivors in support of standing against Domestic Violence. Their demands for change are currently being drafted into legislation in an unprecedented maneuver by the group of Domestic Violence survivors and victims alike. The plan is to turn to elected officials for support in creating a state law.



Dorothy and Bella give special thanks to restaurant owner Hans Lehner of Zum Stammtisch located at 69-46 Myrtle Ave Glendale NY 11385 for allowing them access to the event space. They also give thanks to iJCreative Printing and iJVentures Inc. for donating banners and signs displayed at the event, and Kenneth Wieber Domestic Violence Detective of the 109th Precinct for donating decorations and supplies.


If you are in an abusive relationship Dorothy and Bella want, you to know you are not alone. They want fellow domestic violence victims to know that they can reach out to them for support. They will be supported every step of the way. They will be hosting a once-a-month virtual support group with the first one beginning Thursday, December 8th, 2022, at 7 pm. This support group will give support to other victims struggling with domestic violence. To join the Domestic Violence Survivors Support Group, you can log in via their website.


Bella Matias and Dorothy Stepnowska have vowed to be advocates for victims across the board and promise they have a lot in store to shed light on this often hidden evil and continue to speak up and break the silence. In addition, they will soon unveil their newly drafted legislation. To follow up more or get involved please check out their website via the QR code below.


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