IDVAAC News Summer 2009, Volume 10, Number 1

by Tameka Davis

IDVAAC Conference 2009

A Journey to Healing: Finding the Path



he Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) will discuss the very important issue of healing for survivors of domestic violence, as well as adults who witnessed domestic violence as children at its upcoming annual conference.

This year’s conference, A Journey to Healing: Finding the Path is a must-attend event, which will be held Aug. 3-4 in Long Beach, Calif. The conference will feature informative and engaging presentations, practical information, interactive panel sessions, and artistic performances—all focused on learning how to help battered women and adults, who witnessed domestic violence as children, discover their own pathway to healing and recovery.

Color Me Butterfly

Brenda Thomas

Whom Shall We Fear

Carolyn West

Something Like Beautiful

“The topic of healing really deals with the issue of how victims of domestic violence that I’ve talked to over the years yearn for moving past the experience of the victimization,” said Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D., executive director of IDVAAC. “It doesn’t mean that they’re trying to forget, or pretend it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean they’re not touched by the experience forever more. But they want to be able to not let it consume their lives, and they want to figure out a way to move past the experience, move past the trauma.”

This conference will appeal to advocates, practitioners, researchers, domestic violence survivors, educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders with an interest in or responsibility to attend to the welfare of battered women and their families.

Featured speakers include L.Y. Marlow author of Color Me Butterfly and founder of the Saving Promise Campaign, who will speak at the Adult Children and Their Exposure to Domestic Violence panel discussion. Marlow is a third-generation survivor of domestic violence and will speak about the impact of intergenerational domestic violence and abuse endured by her family. Essence best-selling author Brenda L. Thomas, who wrote Laying Down My Burdens, will talk about rebuilding her life after experiencing domestic violence.

Author of Whom Shall I Fear: a Spiritual Journey of a Battered Woman, Lavon Morris-Grant, will talk about how she’s recovering from being shot four times by her husband, who then committed suicide. Atum Azzahir, president and executive director at the Cultural Wellness Center in Minneapolis and survivor of domestic violence, will speak at the Building Healing Mechanisms/Strategies into Battered Women’s Programs workshop. Other featured speakers, panelists and performers will include: survivors of domestic violence, adults who witnessed violence as children, domestic violence practitioners, artists, and scholars whose work addresses this issue. For a full list of speakers visit

Conference highlights

Panel Discussion: Survivors and Healing

Comprised of four inspiring women who are survivors of domestic violence, this panel will present first-hand perspectives on finding the path to healing for battered women. Conference participants will view four video biographies – one focused on each panelist – that explore these women’s lives during and after their abusive experiences. Panelists will then engage in a guided discussion during which they will articulate their perspectives on healing for battered women, noting common definitions, themes, and elements of their journey and path to healing.

Panel Discussion: Trauma and Elements of Recovery for Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

This discussion focuses on practitioners and scholars whose work focuses on children will report on the trauma of and recovery for children who suffer the emotional and other consequences of witnessing domestic violence. Panelists will also discuss elements of healing and recovery for children of battered women.
There will also be several workshops on this topic including, Trauma and Recovery in Children Who Witness Domestic Violence and in Adults Who Witnessed Domestic Violence During Childhood, Trauma and Recovery for Battered Women, and other panel discussions entitled Adult Children and Their Exposure to Domestic Violence and Trauma and Elements of Recovery for Battered Women.

Artistic Expression

Sounds of Blackness

Sounds of Blackness and dancer/choreographer Endalyn Taylor

Grammy award-winning R&B group Sounds of Blackness has recorded a new song focused on healing; conference participants will view the video premiere of this inspiring work. Penned by group founder and director Gary Hines, song will be interpreted through a dance choreographed by Endalyn Taylor, original cast member of the Broadway production of The Lion King, and school director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The conference will also feature a vignette showcasing the artistic talent of Margaret “Shug” Avery of “The Color Purple.” This original work will provide a provocative dramatic portrayal of the healing.


  • Battered Women’s Perspectives on Healing: Report on Focus Group Responses
    Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D.
    , IDVAAC Executive Director; Professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota (St. Paul)
    This presentation highlights a report on focus group responses from domestic violence survivors about the process for and stages of healing for battered women.
  • Fighting for the Hearts and Minds of Your Children
    Mildred Muhammad
    , Executive Director, After the Trauma (Washington, DC)
    As the former wife of convicted DC sniper John Allen Muhammad, Mildred Muhammad and her experience of domestic abuse have received national attention. Muhammad will offer insights into the challenges a battered woman may face in fighting for the hearts and minds of her children when her batterer seeds and encourages conflict and hostility toward her.
  • Awards Ceremony
    IDVAAC will recognize outstanding work to address domestic violence across the United States that is directed toward or inclusive of African Americans.

Mildred Muhammad

This year’s conference offers concurrent workshops on a variety of topics related to recovery that will provide skill-building opportunities focused on helping survivors discover their pathway to healing. Each workshop will conclude with a facilitated group discussion on defining healing for battered women and children who witness domestic violence. For more details on specific workshops offered visit,

Learn how you can help yourself and others through the process of healing from domestic violence. Register today to take part in an uplifting journey of healing by attending, A Journey to Healing: Finding the Path. To register for the conference or find out more information please visit, Meeting and lodging accommodations for the conference will be held at The Westin Long Beach.



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