The 10th annual Restore the Joy domestic violence awareness luncheon was held in Rockville, Maryland. Cassandra Atkens, mother of a domestic violence victim, attended the conference to commemorate the life she lost over a year ago in Germantown.
“I never had the feeling I could stand up right now to even talk to you. A year ago I couldn’t speak because I was destroyed. Losing a soul or a mother losing a child is the worst thing that could happen to anybody,” said Atkens.
Unfortunate circumstances gave way to a joyous occasion. Speakers, singers and a mime all took center stage to celebrate. Dozens attended to show their support, including Ike Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County.
“I wanted to be here, along with my wife, to demonstrate our support for Restore Joy [and] to let people know domestic violence is serious,” said Leggett.
Atkens hoped to empower those in the midst of domestic violence. She said she urged them to put their heart aside and get help. Atkens stated parents should look for warning signs and pay close attention.
“By me being here and supporting, hopefully somebody can hear my voice and then prevent something like that happening to their child,” Atkens said.
The Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault program are one of several places victims can turn to get help.