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Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October 2018

Ava Ashley, Manager, DBHIDS Trauma Unit

Cabrini University held its 8th annual Domestic Violence symposium that year and the theme was “Trauma and Trafficking”. This annual symposium is sponsored by the Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education, whose purpose is to promote social change through professional development, training, education, and research to end domestic violence and support children exposed to trauma. The Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education at Cabrini University. Visit the Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education.

Domestic Violence Symposium logo - Cabrini University - October 2018

This symposium and its focus on Trauma and Trafficking illustrates the intersectionality between women who experienced commercial sexual exploitation and the use of violence and control to maintain victimization. There were local and regional expert panelists who included law enforcement, clinical, medical, school district and immigrant and advocacy providers to examine the issues; and the keynote speaker was, Barbara Amaya, a survivor, speaker, author and award-winning advocate in the movement to end human trafficking and all violence. Ms. Amaya shared with students, faculty and others her experiences as a survivor. She pointed out to the audience that anyone who works directly with survivors needs to understand how critical violence, control, and trauma bonds make it difficult to escape these destructive relationships. She stressed the following:

  • Time and trust are required to break the trauma bond
  • Victims never view themselves as being trafficked
  • Providers must ask the right questions that are trauma informed and offer choices
  • Survivor to survivor connections and voices offer hope and empowerment

How violence, control and false love are used to exploit women
Nobody’s Girl, by Barbara Amaya, is a memoir of her lost innocence at age 12, her life story in the modern-day slave, and her transformation to an advocate for survivors of human trafficking and violence against women. She offers hope and a glimpse into the ‘the life” and most importantly how she slowly found the will to live and ultimately leave “the life”. This memoir also offers tangible prescriptive advice for law enforcement, medical personnel, teachers, counselors, and parents/care givers can recognize the red flags if you suspect someone is the victim of human trafficking. BarbaraAmaya.com

Nobody's Girl book cover by Barbara Amaya