November 18, 2016

Author: Adham Talaat, '14

A domestic violence awareness event, "Priscilla's Promise," named after Priscilla Vinci, '76, a victim of domestic violence, was presented by the Master's of Social Work (MSW) program, DAWN-an organization that provides support services for deaf people that have experienced or are experiencing abusive relationships-and the Office of the President at House One on November 11, 2016.

Dr. Martha Sheridan, '77, social work professor and school social work coordinator at Gallaudet, shared a storyboard of her bond with Priscilla, the driving force behind this event. Sheridan and Vinci became dear friends through their time as students on Kendall Green, and remained so after graduation. In the video storyboard, Sheridan chronicled their friendship and experiences leading up to the murders of Priscilla and her mother, Josephine, resulting from domestic violence.

In the events prior to her death, Vinci and Sheridan promised each other to continue their efforts in social work directed towards awareness, education, and prevention of domestic violence, particularly in the deaf community. These efforts align with the mission of DAWN.

DAWN, formerly known as an acronym for Deaf Abused Women's Network, realized this was excluding many other groups of people that face abuse, including men, LGBTQA+, and so forth.

"Now, we simply identify as DAWN, symbolizing new hope for a better life, and we provide support for all deaf people who have survived or still face abuse," said Bregitt Jimenez, '10 & G-'14, DAWN outreach coordinator.

MSW students and DAWN representatives hosted students and other community members in an open house. MSW students provided storyboards for the event, allowing attendees to learn the stories of those who have experienced domestic violence. The stories contained explicit descriptions of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, and other forms of personal violation. The stories were told from the perspective of men, women, and LGBTQA+ that experienced these various forms of abuse, highlighting that abuse is not gender-specific.

Students from the SWK752 class, Rachel Burns, Brianna Hoffman, Brad Schanz, and Shayna Unger, worked tirelessly to make this event a success. They also collaborated with students in the ASL and Deaf Studies Department to film the videos for the storyboards.

"I think this event went really well," said MSW student Dominique Flagg, '15. "We chose this location at House One for a reason-to show that domestic violence can often happen at home, not only in public places. I feel that this was a great and beneficial effort for our community."

After viewing the stories, guests were given a student-led tour of House One, enjoyed refreshments, and received information about DAWN and domestic violence prevention.

Later that evening, a private donor event was held at House One with President Cordano, for those supporting DAWN in memory of Priscilla.

To learn more about DAWN or the signs of domestic abuse, follow @DeafDawnInDC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; email Jimenez at bregitt@deafdawn.org and/or visit www.deafdawn.org.