Our Speaker, Suzie Mason, Discusses Domestic Violence Awareness
  • Suzie Mason, speaker
Announcements :
  • Our Brewfest was featured in the January issue of the Rotarian magazine.
  • This year there will be no cost to us for brewery donations of beer to the Brewfest, due to a change in state law, which started with the Nashoba Valley Winery situation.
  • The Hudson Club will sponsor a talk on the opiate crisis.
  • The NY Times mentions us in an article on the Repair Café movement.
  • The Power of Change will be held Monday, January 23, at the Chelmsford Council of the Arts building. This year’s honoree is Budget Buddies.
  • Our membership Meet and Greet night will be at Slater’s in Bolton, Tuesday, January 24.
  • Rotary Means Business meets in Waltham, Wednesday, January 25.  Over 30 Rotarians and guests attended last time.
  • The Acton/Boxborough wine tasting event is April 27. Cost is $25/ticket. Half the ticket price for each ticket our Club sells is returned to us.
  • The same night is the setup for the Financial Reality Fair at the high school. The Fair itself is April 28.
  • March 18 is our Stop Hunger Now food packaging event at the high school.
  • The Quad Conference (4 districts) is the last weekend in April.
  • April 1 at the Bull Run, Dueling Pianos will perform for Habitat for Humanity; funds will go to the project in Fitchburg.
  • Global grants: we now have $9000 from clubs, $4000 from individuals, and are waiting for other clubs to fulfill their pledges, for Razia’s Ray of Hope project.
Happy/sad fines:
  • Carolyn: will be at the march in Washington.
  • Mary Ann: just happy to be here.
  • Terry: happy it’s getting warmer.
  • Dan: happy and afraid of change.
  • Ray: his wife will also be in Washington to visit family.
  • Laura: won’t be in Washington, but will be at the Repair Café instead.
Suzie Mason was our guest speaker. She operates a domestic violence awareness page on social media called Voice, which promotes and provides safe discussion of and resources for domestic violence. She became an activist for domestic violence awareness at age 10, and acted as liaison for her high school's counseling department, responsible for stocking informational pamphlets and resources readily available for students. She hopes to one day broaden her horizons by becoming a motivational speaker in public schools and share her personal experience with domestic violence and how she survived, and reach as many people as possible. 
Domestic violence (DV) is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain control or power over the other. It can be physical, psychological, or financial, actions or threats of actions. And it affects people regardless of age, socioeconomic status, gender, race, sexual orientation, or nationality; and it’s prevalent in every community. A gun in the home increases the likelihood of DV by 500%. 1 in 15 children experience DV in the household. As many as 60% of those subjected to DV lose their job. So why stay in a relationship, when it looks so easy to leave? First the abuser gains trust, then eventually begins the abuse; and the abused person thinks “this person really loves me and is doing it for my good.”
Then Suzie told her own story of domestic abuse. She began dating her abuser, loved and trusted him, and gradually turned over to him control. Later on, she realized how awful things had become, got used to the insults, stopped seeing friends and was totally dependent on him. After she had her daughter, things got even worse. She was a stay-at-home mom and became financially dependent. Nothing was in her name; she had no property of her own. Then he threatened that he would take her daughter, and she would never see her again. She believed the threats and abuse.
Finally, she realized that her daughter was witnessing the abuse, and she didn’t want her to believe that this was normal behavior. She tried to get a restraining order, but every hesitation in her testimony was seen by the court as lack of conviction. He moved in with his parents, and she was left in an apartment too expensive; she lost power; and she couldn’t see a way out, was isolated, and felt ashamed. Having no transportation, she asked someone for a ride to work, who then asked the right questions and found out Suzie’s situation. This was actually a new beginning for Suzie and her daughter.
It was friends (whom she had lost touch with) who helped. They gave her a place to stay, and helped her get emergency housing, which she still has. Unfortunately, most abused people don’t have this option. She now shares DV resources and various aspects of her experience and facts about DV through her social media page “Voice,” so people in DV situations can know what to expect and not be intimidated.