Private Violence Film Event | Peace Through Action USA

Private Violence Film Event

Private Violence Film Event | October 2022

Peace Through Action USA held a virtual screening of the film Private Violence followed by an informal discussion. View the film trailer here.

Event Description – This screening of Private Violencecombined a feature-length documentary film, an audience engagement campaign, and guest speaker commentary from a representative of a local intimate partner violence prevention and response organization. Participants explored a range of personal challenges and social barriers that women confront as they transform from victims to survivors of intimate partner violence.

The documentary film Private Violence asks poignant questions that hold the potential to change our society: “Why does he abuse?”; “Why do we turn away?”; “How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?” Enriched by reflections from a professional working in the field, our event sought to answer such questions with a focus on identifying local resources and implementing strategies for community action. After attending this event, participants gained insight into the lived experience of intimate partner violence survivors.

Presenters Biographies

Erin Wilkins, MS, LCPC, of Huntingtown, Maryland, is a licensed therapist and clinical supervisor at Calvert County Behavioral Health. Erin is responsible for overseeing Calvert Center for Change, a comprehensive sexual assault and domestic violence program that provides therapy, advocacy, accompaniment, and other victim services.

Erin brings to this speaking event a special understanding of the unique nature of intimate partner violence as both a person with lived experience and a helper. Prior to joining Calvert Center for Change, Erin worked as a licensed therapist and clinical supervisor at Pyramid Healthcare. Previous positions include providing services for vulnerable and marginalized groups, including people who have been incarcerated, people who use substances, and people who have mental health diagnoses. Erin holds a Master of Science in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling from West Virginia University. Erin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Maryland, as well as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and trained Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate.

Erin is motivated to contribute to this event because “intimate partner violence, like substance use and mental illness, does not discriminate. IPV is misunderstood by many and blame is often misdirected. Using violence is a choice and I am particularly motivated to change the narrative that victims are to blame for the behavior of another”.

Chris Walonski, MA, is the director of programs and partnerships development and delivery with Peace Through Action USA. Chris is responsible for designing instruction in civic engagement and social engagement concepts and practices; writing and editing educational and promotional materials; planning and delivering educational activities; implementing performance management procedures; and engaging with organizations and networks aligned with Peace Through Action’s mission.

Chris Walonski’s programmatic work has engaged a broad range of community intervention strategies and performance-based teaching methods. Prior to joining Peace Through Action USA, Chris served as a program researcher and professor of public speaking at East Tennessee State University. In this capacity, Chris married his passion for project development with the power of personal narrative to help produce a campus-wide sexual consent training program. Chris’ love for crafting educational experiences has taken him from public schools in Thailand to the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Upon returning to the United States as a program manager for the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Chris designed and delivered a bilingual training program that incorporated an array of community partnerships serving multicultural and multilingual youth. Chris has served as an AmeriCorps member through Teach For America’s Colorado Corps. Chris holds a Master of Arts in communication and storytelling studies from East Tennessee State University. As an avid learner, Chris has completed training in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and holds CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certification from Cambridge University. Chris is a grateful recipient of the Hemera Foundation’s Fellowship for Contemplative Education and is an eager student of Buddhist meditation. In his personal time, Chris has toured the U.S. as a spoken word artist and National Poetry Slam champion.

Learning Resources

  • Do Something About Intimate Partner Violence information sheet
  • The Permanent Toll of Intimate Partner Violence personal reflection
  • “Co-Creating Connection: Using Nonviolent Communication for Heartful Connection” event (1:00:12).
  • The Private Violence campaign’s analysis of state laws that affect victims of domestic violence and what you can do to help.
  • A Better Man campaign’s “It Was Me” project, an interactive look inside men’s personal journeys towards non-violence here.
  • “Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave” by Leslie Morgan Steiner at TEDxRainer video (15:59).
  • The Domestic Violence Awareness Project’s variety of free materials to support awareness and prevention efforts here.
  • The National Resource Center’s “Storytelling for Social Change: Sharing Your Childhood Story of Domestic Violence” webinar here.

Resources and Services in Calvert County, Maryland

  • The Calvert Center for Change community resourceshere.
  • Safe Harbor is a residential shelter for abused individuals and their children. The primary purpose of this facility is to provide a supportive shelter experience for the family to establish its own healthy living environment. Please contact Calvert Center for Change for more information on Safe Harbor Shelter at 1-(410)-535-5400, x384.
  • If you or someone you know is in need of urgent substance use or mental health treatment, contact Calvert County Behavioral Health’s Calvert Crisis Response team. The Mobile Crisis Team has the ability to respond to locations within Calvert County. Call them 24/7 at 1-(877)-467-5628.

About Peace Through Action Events

Peace Through Action Events gather youth and adults of all ages to learn about civic and social topics with a focus on peace. Using delivery methods of subject expert lecture, skills training, film discussion, artistic presentation, reflection, and experiential activities, Peace Through Action Events participants gain knowledge on compassionate living, peaceful practices, and social justice concerns.

To keep informed of Peace Through Action Events sign up for our national email or our Calvert County, Maryland email.

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