Three Rivers Commercial News | Samantha May, Staff Writer
THREE RIVERS – Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services is giving the Three rivers area the opportunity to dress up, dance, and support DASAS at the second annual “Behind the Mask” masquerade event, coming to the Riviera Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 28.
DASAS executive director Kim Kramer said the behind the mask theme goes hand-in-hand with domestic and sexual abuse survivors supported through the services offered by the organization. She said survivors tend to hide their story “behind a mask” from our victim-blaming society.
“The behind the mask theme really aligns with what a lot of survivors face and that they have to hide behind their circumstances, and that they wear a lot of different masks to please other people. (They) hide what they are going through because there is a lot of shame in our society around survivors, and around people that are going through domestic violence situations,” Kramer said. “Because of our victim-blaming society and because people try to often hold their families together, they often hide behind a mask to portray their life differently then what it actually is.”
This year’s masquerade will feature a live jazz band, Retro Pop Shuffle, “fabulous, homemade hors d’oeuvres and desserts,” raffle for large prize packages, a masquerade contest, a “grand march” through the theatre and a live survivor mask auction.
Each mask auctioned is handmade and carries a story, according to Kramer, who said each mask is “inspired by survivors that we have worked with.”
“It is just another way to bring awareness to the situation. We will share stories, while still honoring confidentiality, on survivors that have had successfully gone through our programs,” Kramer said.
Last year, 115-120 people participated, raising around $3,000. This year, Kramer said she hopes to see at least 125 people in attendance to raise $5,000. Proceeds from the event go towards DASAS’ general fund in order to support its offered services, such as a safe shelter, crisis line, a 24-hour response program, prevention programs in local schools and non-residential advocacy services.
“We want to bring issues to the forefront and name it for what it is, and support people so they know that there is help out there, and there are agencies and community members that will help them and stand beside them, so they don’t have to live with domestic violence.” Kramer said.
She said around the holidays people suffering from domestic and sexual abuse “tend to try and stick it out” to keep the family together, and a rise in verbal concerns to DASAS tend to come after the holidays. Kramer said DASAS is flexible and can also silently work with those who are not ready to take action.
“That is something I don’t know if people really understand, who are seeking our services. We don’t require them to leave, we can still work with them on how to be safe in the relationship if that is what they choose,” Kramer said.
Doors open at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $30 per person or two for $50. A ticket includes admission, one drink ticket, hors d’oeuvres and dessert.