Domestic violence must be admitted


By Dan Domsic

Last year, 1,765 calls were made to Hamilton County police departments to report domestic disturbances.

Scott Fadness, town manager and Alternatives, Inc. board member, hosted an awareness event for the social organization that serves women and children that are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Alternatives shelter is located in Anderson, but Hamilton County residents are the second highest group of people that use it, according to Fadness.

The program was titled, “I Am Domestic Violence” after performer and speaker Wambui Bahati’s presentation, “I Am Domestic Violence.”

“It doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere any time soon, because until you decide to talk about me, until you decide to take me out of the closet, until you decide that I really do exist, until you decide that I really am a problem, then fasten your seatbelts,” Bahati said as domestic violence personified. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Bahati stressed domestic violence is a problem that won’t go away as long as people refrain from talking about it – taking on various roles and characters to show the breadth of the issue and how it impacts everyone of all ages. One role even reflects on her battle with sexual assault and ensuing mental illness.

Bahati said that for years she didn’t realize one of the characters she portrayed was actually her, the denial being both real and part of the act.

“Whatever the trauma is, you gotta talk to somebody,” Bahati said.

She said even if a person can’t find someone to trust in an immediate social circle, there are places like Alternatives that can help.

“You just can’t keep that in,” she said. “It’s going to come out, and mine came out in mental illness.”

Some of the other scenarios she covered included the ramifications of bullying, a young son abusing an elderly mother through theft and, eventually, violence, a daughter being paralyzed with fear of an abusive father and a man manipulating women with promises of marriage.

The performance was followed by other stories and information about Alternatives.

To learn more about the services Alternatives offers, visit