Tears welled up in Dominique Baptiste’s eyes when Brad Pickford spoke about the Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS) yesterday.
Baptiste was at the kick-off for Family Violence Prevention Month at West Edmonton Mall and she had a message for all youth who grew up with violence in their homes — to come forward and use the resources available to them.
“It’s important to bring it out into the open so people can realize that they’re not alone,” said the 19-year-old U of A student.
Baptiste left her mom’s home when she was 16, trying to find a place where she could feel safe. She said she found that at YESS.
“I went there and I found great people there that were not judgmental towards me,” she said.
“It’s just a great place to be. It’s opened a whole bunch of doors for me.”
Baptiste said the abuse in her family started when she was six and she didn’t seek help until over a decade later. She said many kids are too afraid to come forward.
“It’s your mom, it’s your dad,” she said. “You love them and care about them but they’re still hurting you. You want to keep your mouth shut and not bring up the ugly.”
Coun. Amarjeet Sohi said raising awareness about family violence is an important civic issue.
“It impacts everyone in the community,” he said.
“We want to create an environment where people feel safe, and I think family violence has a direct link to how our community becomes unsafe.”