Letter: Community comes together to empower girls

To the Editors:

On the evening of Feb. 15 at Wilton Library, the Domestic Violence Task Force in conjunction with Wilton Library Association, Wilton Youth Council, the WHS PTSA and Teen PeaceWorks sponsored Don’t be Prey. Be Empowered, which was a viewing of  the documentary The Hunting Ground followed by a panel discussion.

We are greatly indebted to our panelist of experts who generously gave of their time and expertise. Our panelists included Johanna DeBari from The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, Rosie Enyart from The Center of Sexual Assault, Allison Roach from the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, and Lt. Robert Cipolla from the Wilton Police Department. Each member spoke at length about the services provided by their agency and their role in victim advocacy. In addition, they were able to address the issue of dating violence, rape/ trauma consequences, the importance of reporting, an overview of procedures, the issue of campus safety, campus resources and Title IX. The evening proved to be comprehensive, informative and engaging as members in attendance were able to ask their own questions.

This event could not have been made possible without the cooperation, hard work and assistance provided by Michael Bellacosa, Wilton Library; Vanessa Elias, Youth Council chairman; Savet Muraskin, WHS PTSA president; Margaret Creeth, Wilton Youth Services programs manager; and Sarah Muccio, adult and family social worker of Wilton Social Services. I am deeply indebted to them for not only their work but their dedication to supporting educational programs for Wilton’s youths and their parents.

Lastly, I would like to thank Paul at Prosperous Printing for so generously printing our posters and flyers for free. They generously donated their time and resources for our September event and humbled us by doing so again. Please support this local business which invests in our community.

Based on the success of this event I am confident that it will be the first of many collaborative efforts as we strive to provide educational and informative programs that will hopefully help our teens. As the old adage says, “forewarned is  forearmed.” As parents work to teach their children to be courteous, respectful, hardworking and goal-oriented, we are committed to teaching them how to be safe — to not be prey but be empowered!
Jennifer McNamara, Chairperson
Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force
Wilton, March 13