Every year at this time, I emcee the YWCA Niagara Awards. It's a great event where dedicated women from all over Niagara County are recognized for their efforts to help empower women and improve the community at large.
It's an enjoyable night paying tribute to these outstanding women, but perhaps, just as important is that this event is also a fundraiser for Carolyn's House. Among other things, Carolyn's House is a shelter for women escaping abusive relationships. It's a safe haven for them and their children, where they can start turning around their life.
Domestic abuse is still a big threat in our society and very much in the headlines. Most recently, there was the Buffalo woman killed by an abusive boyfriend just hours before she was to run away with her childhood sweetheart. Also, the story of the man accused of beheading his wife who now claims his wife abused him, and coming out over the summer, actor Mel Gibson's despicable rant toward his wife. I even remember an entertainment show proclaiming there were two sides to that story. Really?
As a journalist committed to reporting every side of a story, I can assure you, there is no other side to Mel Gibson's racist, sexist tirade or any other case of domestic abuse, no matter the circumstance, and until we live in a society that understands this, events like the YWCA's are vital to helping women break the cycle of violence. I am glad I can be a part of it every year.