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DeKalb events provide an outlet for domestic violence survivors

The crisis center is partnering with Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb Public Library.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One northern Illinois crisis center is bringing survivors together, but not in the usual space.

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Lynnea Erickson Laskowski is the director of communication and prevention services at Safe Passage in DeKalb. She said talking about domestic violence is very personal, and that’s why it’s normally done within walls.

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“And we were starting to think about how we could make sure that we could do this vigil this year safely,” she explained. “Knowing that we are not out of the pandemic yet. And we want to talk about post-pandemic life. But we really still need to be as conscious as possible.”

The solution was to have the annual domestic violence vigil outdoors.

Laskowski said attendees can express themselves through art and by chatting with other survivors. She said staff will be on hand to handle those who may be triggered by some of the stories that are shared.

She also suggested a few other events that the public can take part in. One is called SurvivArt, which is through a partnership with NIU.

“And it is an opportunity for survivors whether you are a student or a community member," she explained, "to come together and create art that reflects your experience or what you hope your experience would be.”

Another collaboration is with the DeKalb Public Library. There’s a monthlong book club that takes place at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in October at the library.

“We're reading the book, ‘It Ends with Us’ by Colleen Hoover,” she said. “This is a novel that looks at several different romances and where that cycle of violence exists.”

Laskowski explained the importance of speaking out against domestic violence.

“Survivors are safer in communities where people speak openly about these issues and where people openly share that they are a safe person and a safe place,” she said. “So, you may not think that this is something that's important for you or not something that touches your life or your family or your friends, but I guarantee it does. I guarantee it is.”

The domestic violence vigil takes place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Faranda’s Banquet Center’s parking lot, 302 Grove St. The schedule for NIU events can be found on the university's event calendar.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.