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Miss Davenport: an advocate for ending relationship violence

The following is a continuation of my interview with Kay Oskvig, who recently won the Miss Davenport contest and will move on to the state competition. You can find the first part of the interview at http://www.examiner.com/x-2889-Des-Moines-Relationship-Examiner~y2010m2d5-Pageant-winners-passion-reducing-domestic-violence/

5. We have, of course, heard so much about the domestic violence (DV) incidents with Rhianna and Chris Brown. How do you think this impacts young people's awareness of the situation, and how do you think the media handled it?
Situations like Rihanna and Chris Brown do get a large amount of media attention. Initially, I think everyone was shocked at the leaked images and at the story. With celebrities, so much information gets circulated that it can be hard to decipher what is true and what is simply tabloid gossip. One thing is for sure: many young people really saw that DV can affect anyone – even a celebrity – and hopefully positive awareness was generated from the media. In recent media (Rihanna’s print and tv interviews), I have been proud to see that Rihanna has spoken out against DV and encouraged women to get help if they are in a violent situation of their own.

6. Do you plan to work in the area of domestic violence?
I currently work at ACCESS. After law school, we will see where life takes me! I hope to be able to continue to support survivors throughout my life. As a certified Advocate, I have had the opportunity to attend confidential legal proceedings as a source of support for survivors. This has given me a glimpse into the role lawyers play in reducing DV.

7. Are you volunteering in this area?
Yes! I volunteer and am employed at ACCESS, and also work through the Miss Davenport Scholarship Organization to reach people of all ages. This includes speaking at schools, helping out at shelters, and being available to survivors or individuals who want to help make a difference. I have worked with several different issues and organizations throughout my life, including literacy efforts, children with disabilities, mentoring, and poverty-related causes. One of the reasons DV is so important to me is that an individual who is suffering from DV has so much productivity and autonomy taken away from them. This can dramatically impact their ability to live their life. When an individual does not feel safe, their entire focus may be on simply surviving. Children who come from DV homes are very susceptible to this, as they often lack positive role models at home and/or support in school work. It is so important to reach out to survivors and provide support to empower their decision-making.
 

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