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Woman's play spotlights domestic violence in South Florida

Sherell Rosegreen, a Lauderdale Lakes resident in Broward County, survived a marriage marked by domestic violence acts repeatedly visited on her by her ex-husband. She subsequently wrote a book about it entitled “Abused Under His Charm” as an act of empowerment and source of education for other abuse victims.

That book has now been turned into a play of the same name, which has been noted by area-based advocates who provide assistance for violence victims.

Mary Cauthen is one of them. Cauthen is YWCA’s director of abuse programs in Palm Beach County, and she readily endorses Rosegreen’s creativity and effort, as well as its positive effect on other persons who have terminated violent relationships or are still entrapped in them.

“For someone who is abused, seeing a survivor is an advertisement for possibility,” she says.

Possibility and a hope for change is necessary for many women -- and some men, as well -- in South Florida, where another advocate says that many battered and abused victims “don’t like to talk about it.”

Mary Riedel is unquestionably an authority on the subject. As executive director of the Broward County advocacy group Women in Distress, she can readily cite statistics that point to domestic abuse as being “a pretty widespread problem, and a growing problem.”

Riedel’s organization fielded about 6,000 telephone calls from violence victims in its last fiscal year. She notes that her shelter is typically filled to capacity.

What is especially troubling, note Riedel and others, is that a truly accurate picture of the dimensions of domestic violence is hard to come by, given that many victims simply do not report it.

Still, there is hope, as evidenced by Rosegreen’s story and other reports of victims who break free from cyclical violence.

Knowing that their abuser will likely never change and that the possibility of death -- often to children as well -- is a legitimate concern often propels victims to finally take proactive steps to break free of abusive relationships and ensure their safety.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Domestic violence theme of Lauderdale Lakes woman's play," Mike Clary, Sept. 14, 2013

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