Laurel House raises awareness about domestic violence at Cabrini College

By Olivia Torrence
October 27, 2010

“Empty Place at the Table” is an exhibit held in many counties to raise awareness about domestic violence. This exhibit was set-up in the Marketplace at Cabrini College on Monday, Oct.25, by the Laurel House organization in hopes of reaching out to college students about domestic violence relationships.

In this exhibit there is a table set up in front of the Laurel House Representatives. There are seven place settings at the table, just as if it was set-up for dinner. Each plate, bowl, set of silverware and personal belongings actually belong to those who have been murdered due to domestic violence in their household. The last place setting is dedicated to the police officers who have died while answering domestic violence calls.“Domestic violence happens to any race, religion, economic status and age,” intern at Laurel House Allyson Legnini said. “None of these things matter when it comes to domestic violence.”

All of these belongings have been donated by the families from their own home. The women recognized at this exhibit were Kristin, Nila, Hollie, Ellen, Christen, unknown and the police officers. Next to each of these place settings is a brief story of each woman and how domestic violence took her life.

Laurel House is a worldwide organization that is dedicated to helping women and children who are in domestic violence relationships. Laurel House is considered a safe haven for women and their children to run to in their time of need. All of their locations are secret and can not be released. There is also a hotline that women can contact, a telephone number and a fax. Laurel House was founded in 1980. Their mission is to a play role in working to end domestic violence.

Two representatives for Laurel House of Montgomery County, Sara Horstinann and Allyson Legnini, talked about what exactly domestic violence is and what they do exactly to partake in the ending of domestic violence.

There are five specific types of abuse. They are physical, emotional, economical, psychological and sexual.

“Women’s issues has always been my thing,” Horstinann said. At Laurel House, Horstinann’s job is to counsel women and talk with them to make them feel safe again. When women call her or come to her with their problems, it is a full range of different issues.

It ranges from some women just wanting to talk to about their husbands being controlling and what they can do differently to fix it or to some women being beaten and making their phone call in the short amount of time they had before their husband came back.

Legnini’s focus is on legal issues. Lengnini focuses on the statistics part of domestic violence relationships. She uses statistics to determine why these relationships happen and what the workers at Laurel House can do to prevent domestic violence relationships. These statistics also help with what helps the women cope the most.

Both representatives are at Laurel House for the same reason, to raise awareness about domestic violence and its severity. “We try to get them to a place where they recognize their self worth,” Horstinann said. Laurel House attempts to get rid of these feelings and gives these women a place to live for 30 days. During these 30 days, the women are expected to go out and find a job and a family member to live with or find a different place to live.

“At Laurel House we give them the tools they need to trust themselves and give them intuition to understand that they are better than that,” Horstinann said.

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Olivia Torrence

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