MEMPHIS, Tenn. — October is domestic violence awareness month, and one organization is working to raise awareness on the topic through a walkathon car and bike expo titled “I Survived It.”
Ponya Dodson is the CEO and founder of Beauty Beyond the Scars – an organization dedicated to bringing attention to domestic violence and providing resources and support to victims and their families.
Saturday morning, dozens of people gathered at the Raleigh Civic Center for the organization’s fourth annual walkathon.
“For me, it started at the age of 16. I didn’t understand it when I was going through it, but once God delivered me from it, he showed me what the whole purpose was behind it, and it wasn’t even about me. It was to help other people,” said Dodson.
According to the Memphis Data Hub, since Oct. 1, there have been 390 assaults involving domestic violence reported in the city of Memphis. Since Jan. 1., there have been 9,371 reported citywide.
That data includes all four domestic violence charges listed under assaults: Aggravated Assault/Domestic Violence, Intimidation/Domestic Violence, Simple Assault/Domestic Violence, and Threatening Phone Call/Domestic Violence.
Dodson says that the purpose of the walk is to remember and honor those that lost their lives to domestic violence, but to also celebrate those that are still here.
“They got out of it and can say ‘I survived.'” said Dodson.
Numerous organizations also took part in the walk.
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Representatives with Thistle and Bee, an organization committed to assisting victims of trafficking and addiction, say the biggest support comes from the victim’s family and friends.
“I know from experience that sometimes you’re not always ready for whatever the resource might be that someone has to offer, but just always being there and supporting them regardless, letting them know that you care and you’re not going anywhere,” said Samantha Brown with Thistle and Bee.