Battling domestic abuse, helping victims to survive

Women’s safety seminar on March 30


Recoveries R US, an Inwood-based organization that educates future New York state-certified alcohol-and substance-abuse counselors, will host a Women Safety Seminar on March 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. in honor of Women’s History Month.

Connie Pacheco, president of Recoveries R US, who opened the facility in September 2015, will lead the event. She has worked as a substance-abuse counselor in New York City for more than 30 years. “What better way to get the word out and raise awareness,” Pacheco said of the seminar.

Being a social worker, she said the event is an opportunity for her to meet with and identify women who may be victims of domestic violence. She added that not everyone is always aware that they are in such a relationship. Based on her experiences personally and professionally, she will be able to advocate for them and provide them with useful information.

As a rape and domestic violence survivor, Pacheco will focus on self-defense tactics and awareness of these issues. “I like to share it so that others can feel empowered,” she said, about the importance of sharing her story.

Across the nation, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. An average of 20 people are physically abused by their partners every minute, which equates to more than 10 million abuse victims each year in the U.S., the coalition reports on its website. Warning signs of an abuser include extreme jealously, possessiveness, unpredictability, bad temper, extremely controlling behavior and verbal abuse, among others.

The New Horizon Counseling Center, in Valley Stream, deals with the aftermath of domestic abuse of about 200 people per month. The center offers services including outpatient, school-based and at-home counseling, help for those with developmental disabilities and chemical dependency programs.

Olivia Harris, service coordinator at Arverne-based Ocean Bay Community Development Corp., will be attending the seminar with a group of about 10 women that she works with. Ocean Bay is an organization that strives to help low-income residents in Far Rockaway and the surrounding area.

“I want them to feel as empowered as possible,” Harris, a Far Rockaway native, said, of the women who attend the seminar. She recalled a similar experience of attending a self-defense workshop while a student at Brooklyn College. She said she remembers how good it felt and expressed her hope for the individuals she works with to gain an increased sense of self-sufficiency.

The seminar is open to the public; an adult must accompany girls under the age of 16. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. For more information call (516) 239-2440 or (718) 496-1589. Recoveries R US is at 430 Doughty Blvd. in Inwood.