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Domestic violence awareness event scheduled for Wednesday

LAWRENCEVILLE - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, and the Domestic Violence Survivor Speak-Out event will be held on Wednesday at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville.

Lauren, a domestic violence survivor, will share her story at the event to "raise awareness and break the silence that batterers thrive on," said Susan Berryman-Rodriguez, director of community relations for the Partnership Against Domestic Violence.

Lauren is a classically trained musician and college graduate who grew up in an upper-to-middle class family in the suburbs.

Berryman-Rodriguez said Lauren is not what most people think about when they think of survivor of domestic violence, as that perception is erroneous.

Lauren was abused by her boyfriend and was arrested for defending herself, Berryman-Rodriguez said.

But she is now a legal advocate volunteer with the partnership.

"Like so many survivors, her biggest fear is being judged. ... But Lauren is willing to take the risk if it helps other women like her in similar situations," Berryman-Rodriguez said in an e-mail.

"Lauren is a reminder (of) how prevalent this issue is in our society. In Georgia, 30 percent of women and girls will be abused at least once by their partners."

According to the PADV Web site, there are different forms of abuse, which include physical abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse and sexual abuse.

The mission of the PADV is "supporting women and their children in their efforts to live violence-free."

The PADV has more than 30 full- and part-time employees, with an office in metro Atlanta and two 24-hour emergency shelters in Gwinnett and Fulton Counties, the Web site says.

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and wants help is urged to call the 24-hour crisis line in Gwinnett at 770-963-9799. All calls are

confidential.

For more information about the event, call the administrative office at 404-870-9600.