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Women Aware

Women Aware’s 2017 Candlelight Vigil Honors Survivors and Victims

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Event Program

NEW BRUNSWICK–On October 11th, Women Aware hosted a candlelight vigil to honor individuals affected by domestic violence and those who serve them. 150 members of the community came together for a night of powerful speakers and quiet reflection as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Maliha Janjua, Director of Client Services at Women Aware, delivered her testimonial of dating and gun violence.

“After what seemed like months of stalking and harassment, on September 7, 2007, he came into my place of work in Menlo Park Mall, and without a word shot me at point blank range in the face. As my throat swelled choking my airway, I watched him turn the gun on himself and take his own life.”

She spoke of her long path to healing and recovery. Today, Ms. Janjua is one of the leading advocates for survivors in the country. “You are not alone. I am living proof that,” she said. Today she works with thousands of survivors of domestic violence every year at Women Aware.

Tammy Snyder Murphy, wife of Gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, spoke about the need for our communities to do more to end domestic violence in New Jersey.

Also in attendance were Freeholder Blanquita Valenti, Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill, Highland Park Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler, East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, who represents New Brunswick in the State Assembly, and Director of Human Services for Middlesex County Melyssa Lewis.

(At right photo credit Daniel J. Munoz of TAP into New Brunswick)

Mass Shooting Victims

Women Aware offers our deepest condolences to the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada last night and their families.

On the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are tragically reminded of the intersection of mass shootings and domestic violence. Last year alone, 1/3 of mass shooting deaths in the United States were related in some way to domestic violence. For more on the topic, visit our 2016 post here.

Please join our Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday October 11th from 6:30-7:30 pm at Monument Square Park in New Brunswick to honor all victims of violence and especially victims of domestic violence. The event is free and open to the public.

Back to School with GW Connections Donation

At the beginning of every school year, the members of GW Connections donate backpacks to the children in our shelter and therapy programs. This year the group stuffed more than 25 bags with school supplies and basic necessities. We can’t wait to see the smiling faces when the kids receive them.

Women’s Networking Group in Middlesex County to Fight Domestic Violence

EDISON–Philanthropy-minded business women will launch a BW NICE chapter on August 17th from 9am-10:30am at the Crowne Plaza Edison. In addition to providing networking and education opportunities for its members, the group will raise funds for Women Aware. Women Aware’s Assistant Executive Director will be the Guest Speaker at the launch.

BW NICE (Business Women Networking Involving Charity & Education) is a unique women’s networking organization that provides women at all stages of business and personal life with support, education and resources. They see value in the balance of business networking and charitable outreach. In addition to their monthly networking meetings, each BW NICE Chapter raises funds and awareness supporting a local organization in the fight against domestic violence.The Middlesex County Chapter meets on the third Wednesday of the month from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Edison.

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Honoring Arthur Roedel

It is with great thanks that we honor Arthur Roedel’s loving service to victims of domestic violence. May he rest in the same peace he has given to so many others.

To read more about Arthur’s life of service, click here. 

Pictured: Arthur and Debbie Roedel

Merck Awards $25,000 to Support Maternal Health of Survivors

KENILWORTH–The Merck Foundation recently awarded $25,000 to Women Aware through their Neighbor of Choice grant. The funds will go to supporting the health and well-being of survivors of domestic violence in our emergency shelter. In particular, the grant will mitigate the negative health outcomes of domestic violence for expectant mothers.

Merck has a long history of supporting Women Aware. Every year, the Merck Women’s Network collects clothing, baby products, and household items for victims in our emergency shelter, and we receive multiple financial donations from employees through Merck’s Workplace Giving Program.

Merck is dedicated to building strong and vibrant communities by promoting a healthier society. Like Merck, Women Aware is committed to improving the wellness and quality of life of people in our community. Together, with like-minded partners like the Merck Foundation, we will achieve a safer and healthier society for all.

Women’s Golf Charity Raises over $700 for Women Aware

EAST BRUNSWICK–For the second year in a row, members of the Tamarack Women’s Nine-Hole Golf Association hosted a charity luncheon to benefit Women Aware. They raised more than $700. The group played 9-holes of golf followed by a luncheon with special raffles. Before accepting the check, Women Aware staff spoke to the group about how their donation helps change the lives of survivors.

Women Aware Advocates for Immigrant Survivors

“I believe the judicial system in New Jersey should be a place for all victims to find safety.” -Maria Betanzos, Assistant Executive Director

TRENTON—On June 5th, state lawmakers convened a public hearing on the practice of federal immigration officials arresting undocumented immigrants at New Jersey courthouses. Advocates worry that the practice will discourage undocumented victims of domestic violence from coming forward.

Women Aware joined with the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, the ACLU, and other expert advocates to provide first-hand testimonial about the serious fallout of the practice. Women Aware’s Assistant Executive Director, Maria Betanzos testified:

“One of our clients is an undocumented woman from South America. Her abuser, a US citizen, brutally battered her and left her unconscious for two days. She remained in a coma for 3 months and suffered severe brain damage. Her children were placed in foster care. If she had felt safe to do so, she may have been able to access the security of our courts before this traumatic event nearly killed her.”

The threat of deportation at courthouses is putting immigrant victims at risk for serious injury and death. This is just one example of the cases we regularly encounter at Women Aware. We shelter over 200 women and children each year who are at high-risk of lethality, and to date, over 40% have been immigrants.

Women Aware is committed to a society where all individuals can live free from violence and injustice, regardless of immigration status.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Awards $10,000 to Women Aware

NEW BRUNSWICK–For the past 8 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has been ranked in the top 10 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. Recently BMS awarded Women Aware $10,000 to support our life-saving services to victims of domestic violence, carrying on their tradition of giving back. We are proud to partner with BMS to promote the safety and self-sufficiency of those affected by domestic violence in Middlesex County.

J&J Donates Flowers and Funds for Sheltered Moms

NEW BRUNSWICK–The Johnson and Johnson Pride Team delivered Happy Mother’s Day flowers for every mother in our shelter this morning. In addition to the beautiful tulips, the group raised over $250 that will be matched by J&J corporate for our emergency fund. When the mothers receive their flowers on Sunday, they will know that they have the support of our community to move beyond abuse.