From the shocking photos of singer Rihanna bruised and beaten by then-boyfriend Chris Brown to the phone messages of Mel Gibson swearing, grunting and yelling at Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child, domestic violence has certainly made a splash in the pop-media circuit recently.
And it’s not just men who are making negative headlines. Several episodes of the MTV reality hit Teen Mom showing 20-year-old Amber Portwood punching and kicking on-again, off-again boyfriend Gary Shirley in front of their 2-year-old daughter have raised many eyebrows.
But there is some good to come out of all this bad: People are speaking out about domestic violence and taking action against it. One such person is Kehau Volhein.
“Domestic violence awareness has always been on my mind after being a victim myself,” says the Kaneohe resident. “I have always wanted to volunteer my time and efforts to an organization, but never got around to it.”
A certified Zumba instructor, Volhein has decided to dedicate her 6 p.m. class this Friday to victims and survivors of domestic violence with a “Party in Purple.” Cost to attend is $5, but Volhein encourages students to consider chipping in $10, as 100 percent of class fees will be donated to local nonprofit Women Speaking Out.
“When I saw that they specifically focus on the younger generation, including teens, I wanted to support them right away,” says Volhein, who was in an abusive relationship from age 15 to 18.
“Those closest to me know what I went through, but I don’t think even my own parents know the details of some of the things my ex-boyfriend did,” she says. “Now that I’m older and a mom, I realized that even though I was not consciously hiding my past, I was still keeping it in, in some shape or form.”
Volhein will share her personal story for the first time before leading participants through a high-energy Zumba session. After the workout, Volhein will take a photo with the group to send to Women Speaking Out along with the donation.
“At the very least, I hope people come to learn that Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October too!” she says. “I want the people who come to walk away with more knowledge than they had when they arrived. Even if it’s just a little piece of insight, I hope they get something new to ponder and think about.”
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