Domestic Violence Awareness Month Showcase – The Last Time

Tiffany Hill - The Last Time
Photo Credit – Valerie R. Vaughn

 

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Reel Focus is placing this very serious topic at the forefront of the blog all month long.  Often this is a topic that triggers fear and denial in many women but our aim is to create a comfortable place for women who may be victims or for women who want to provide support to unify and discuss how to combat this growing issue in our society.  To kick off this fight against domestic abuse, Tiffany Hill, a member of Women in Film and Television Atlanta, author of Authentic Me, and executive producer of the amazing film THE LAST TIME, joins us to lead the discussion on this serious issue and share with readers how she is working to make the world a safer place for women.

Tiffany, thank you so much for bringing this topic to our attention.  I was very glad that you reached out to me to share this topic with Reel Focus.  In fact, I was so glad that I decided to devote an entire month to this subject.  This is a critical issue for women and it is great that a women’s organization like Women in Film and Television Atlanta unite with other women’s organizations and filmmakers around this topic. First, can you tell us more about yourself and how you got to this point in your career as a filmmaker.authenic-me

I am originally from Spearsville, Louisiana and mother to three young sons- Tyler, Trent and Tanner.   Presently, I am an employment/labor law attorney licensed in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Ohio. I earned my Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Civil Law degrees from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center and my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern University, both located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My professional and civic memberships include the Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma bar associations, the Society for Human Resource Management, the National Association of Professional Women, Women in Film and Television- Atlanta, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated. My board affiliations include the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs, the American Psychological Association, Board of Educational Affairs and the YWCA, Human Resources Committee.

I utilize my legal expertise as an advocate for increased awareness surrounding the issue of domestic violence. I am author of Authentic Me: A Story of Strength, Perseverance and Faith, wherein I share my personal story as a survivor of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. I am Executive Producer of “The Last Time,” a film project aimed at educating and empowering domestic abuse survivors. I host a motivational podcast, “Authentic Conversations,” which delivers content on such topics as self-worth, professional development, emotional and spiritual health. I manage a Facebook group entitled ‘Authentic Me’ which is designed to provide a place for domestic abuse survivors to heal and grow authentically with the support of others. Additionally, I collaborate with national organizations to cultivate emerging young leaders through mentorship programs.

Among the mantras by which I live is: “To live authentically is the ultimate form of happiness.”

Is domestic violence something that you have direct experience with?  If so, tell other women a little about your experience and how you were able to break free and gain control of your situation.

My ability to be able to assist other women through their abusive situations began with me finding the strength to share my personal story of abuse. Initially, it was difficult to voice that I had experienced physical and emotional abuse as a professional woman. I felt that this revelation would somehow make me appear weak. However, it was also my desire that my testimony be used to encourage someone else along their journey.

My passion is rooted in a desire to raise awareness of an issue that is often swept under the rug, particularly within the African American community. As an attorney and survivor of domestic abuse, it pained me to experience court systems and officials who did not understand domestic violence or the manipulation tactics used by the abuser. My desire to eradicate domestic abuse begins with people comprehending what abuse entails and ensuring the abused have the support and resources they need. I strongly believe that when people are free to share their stories without judgment and be supported, it will lessen the likelihood that they remain in abusive situations that threaten their health and safety.

Tell us more bout your book Authentic Me and your film THE LAST TIME.

I am author of Authentic Me: A Story of Strength, Perseverance and Faith, which details a tumultuous marriage rippled with abuse, infidelity and psychological manipulation. These painful, private truths are masked by the appearance of a perfect public lifestyle which causes the author to harbor guilt and internalize pain. At her breaking point, she must decide to uncover the mask and rediscover her authentic self. As she begins down the path of purposeful healing, she realizes that the most difficult yet necessary part of her journey would be the ability to forgive.

Authentic Me: A Story of Strength, Perseverance and Faith is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. It is the first in a series of Authentic Me books with a focus on overcoming the trauma of domestic abuse.  Authentic Me: The Forgiveness Journey, is scheduled for publication late 2016.

I am Executive Producer of THE LAST TIME film, which depicts the story of a modern day power couple whose seemingly perfect life contradicts their private encounters with abuse. The film compels discussion regarding the warning signs of abuse, support mechanisms, self-worth and authenticity. There will be people who view The Last Time and reflect upon how the many facets of abuse have shown up in their own lives and/or how domestic violence has affected those close to them. This platform allows for continued dialogue and awareness regarding the issue of domestic abuse and is what makes this film important: it will change lives.

“The Last Time” is written and directed by Justin Poage of Fifteen Studios, a multimedia company in Atlanta, Georgia. The producers include Reece Odum, Wardell Richardson, Charmin Lee and Tommy Ford. The film is intended for initial film festival exhibition beginning in early 2017.

The Last Time features experienced actors with phenomenal talent. Cast members include Lead Actress Reece Odum as “Jasmine Brimly”; Lead Actor Wardell Richardson as “Justin Brimly”; Tommy Ford as “Chief Winston”; Charmin Lee as “Erica Rockwell”; DeEtta West as “Mother”; Angelo Diaz as “Kirk”; LaDarian Raymond as “Kevin Pullen”; Sy Sayonara as “Sheila Pullen”; Gara Coffey as “Sienna”; Michelle Valines as “Woman in Domestic Disturbance Scene”; Don Scully as “Man in Domestic Disturbance Scene”; Dilyara Akhundov as “Jennifer”; Victor Santore as “Paul”; Tina Bliese as “Private Investigator”; and Telesa Hines as “Poet”. Additionally, the support group scene features courageous survivors of domestic abuse.

The production team includes Kenneth Bradley (Director of Photography), Carlos Ramirez (Boom Operator), Shayla Infante (Key Makeup Artist/Special Effects Makeup Artist), Tony Acey (Makeup Artist), Delacia Tolbert (Photographer), Carla M. Johnson (Photographer) and Christian Davis (Production Assistant).

For women suffering in silence right now, share with them how they can gain the strength necessary to break free in the way that you did.

Do not endure incidents of domestic abuse in silence. These situations could easily turn fatal. Seek the counsel of experienced professionals. You can begin by contacting The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or appropriate law enforcement agencies. Ensure your safety and exit immediately.  Though it may seem daunting, you owe it to yourself to take actions that are best for you, your family and your overall health.

Finally, do not let what you have gone through define you. Grow through your experiences and always remain true to your authentic self.

 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION!  SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.

 

For additional information, visit my webpage at www.thauthentic.com or connect via social media @th_authentic.  For sponsorship opportunities, film screenings, cast interviews or additional inquiries contact LastTimeMovie@gmail.com. Join our online community by following @LastTimeMovie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Last Time

 

Don’t forget to check the premiere of – The Last Time. This is one of Tommy Mikal Ford’s (actor on the hit show “Martin”) last acting roles. 
Tommy-Ford-1
 
THE LAST TIME, Film Premiere
 

It’s happening… and you don’t want to miss it!

 

 
 
 
JOIN US FOR THE OFFICIAL PREMIERE OF THE LAST TIME:
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Midtown Art Cinema
931 Monroe Dr
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
 
Ticket Information:
 
 Photo of Tommy Ford retrieved from http://bit.ly/2iOXZ7j

 


 

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month Showcase – Honey Trap

honey-trap-2

 

Reel Focus continues this month by bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence.  Last week, we gained insight into this topic from Tiffany Hill, executive producer of the film THE LAST TIME, as she shared with readers her own personal struggle with domestic violence and how she broke free from it.  This week we highlight another film that diverges a bit from the topic of domestic abuse and zeros in on the misogyny of women – a distorted belief about women that is often the basis for domestic abuse.   HONEY TRAP, directed by Rebecca Johnson, features a teenage girl whose gender is placed on the trial of public scrutiny for the violence that erupts between two men.

Thank you so much, Rebecca, for participating in this very important blog segment on domestic violence.  Can you begin by telling us what HONEY TRAP is about and what inspired you to create such a film?

HONEYTRAP is the story of 15 year old Layla who gets drawn into gang culture and a love triangle that leads to murder. It comes out of my having worked for more than 10 years making films with young people in Brixton, in the world where the film is set.

One of the first things that struck me as I got to know these young people was how little things had changed in the 20 years since I’d been their age in terms of the sexual double standard.

Girls were caught in the same impossible bind: the expectation of being both sexy – though a not a slag, god forbid – but also tough, adhering to the same macho persona as the boys, in order to be respected by them. The film is based on a real case that took place close to where I live. Media coverage used the youth and prettiness of the girl as a sensational story, titillating almost. The prosecution lawyer in the case described her as ‘knowing exactly what she was doing, manipulating her sexuality with expertise’. She was characterized as a femme fatale, even though she was a minor.

This really brought home for me how the double standard is enforced, not only by peer pressure but by society. As we know, the sexualization of women, even as children, is intrinsic to the way they are judged and found culpable in their own mistreatment.

I knew the story behind the press coverage. I knew how it would have felt to be this girl and I wanted to take audiences on a journey with her from the inside. Not seeing her as an inhuman monster but as a kid who spirals out of control in the grip of emotions she can’t control and without the stabilizing support of a strong family structure.

How did you get your film to be a part of Array’s network?

HONEYTRAP played at Urban World film festival in New York and the lovely Gabrielle Glore who runs UW told Ava about it and put us in touch. It was a lovely case of being recommended by one supportive woman in film to another! It’s a great honor for me to be included in the Array stable and the best possible launch for the film in the US.

Tell our readers where across the U.S. they can view this film.

Photo Credit - Array Now

HONEYTRAP is currently available via Netflix in the U.S. and Canada. Tour dates included New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Houston, Nashville, Montgomery and Gary.  More screening dates may be added at www.arraynow.com/honeytrap/

 

Atlanta Screening Date: Sunday, October 16

Screening Time: 3PM

Location:  Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History

Address:  101 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Cost: Free

RSVP Link: http://bit.ly/2dK7wxx

 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION!  TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF HONEY TRAP BY COMMENTING BELOW.

 
 

Check out our previous article with Array – Ayanda.


 

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month Showcase – National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence Logo

 

 

This article marks the end of Reel Focus’ Domestic Violence Awareness month.  We have seen how domestic violence personally affected one of our members, Tiffany Hill, and how she took this disadvantage and turned it into an inspiring book and film.  We have also seen how filmmaker Rebecca Johnson depicts the true story of a young girl trapped in an abusive cycle misogyny in her new film, HONEY TRAP.  Although this week we will end the domestic violence showcase on our blog, we want to provide you with an opportunity to continue to fight against domestic abuse and acquire help if you are victims of abuse.  We will end our blog segment with Emily Dahl, Senior Development and Communications Specialist at National Network to End Domestic Violence, who will share with us how victims can seek help for of domestic violence and how advocates against abuse can provide support.

Thank you so much Team NNEDV for taking the time to share with our organization how to combat this social problem. First, can you begin with telling us more about your organization and how you help victims of abuse?

Thank you for having us! The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a social change organization and a leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates. NNEDV works closely with the 56 state and territorial domestic violence coalitions to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs. We make domestic violence a national priority by ensuring those needs are heard and understood by policymakers at the national level.

Our mission is to create a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists. We strive to create such an environment by establishing cross-sector collaborations, corporate partnerships, and a range of programs and initiatives[1] to address the complex causes and consequences of domestic violence.

Can you share with our readers some of the myths associated with domestic violence?

There are a multitude of misconceptions about domestic violence – including what it is. Abuse is a choice. It’s a pattern of controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and/or financial abuse. One of the most common beliefs is that domestic violence is a personal, family issue that should be kept private. The reality is that domestic violence affects millions of people regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, education, or economic status. By increasing awareness of domestic violence as a public issue, we can work towards ending the stigma.

For the past ten years, NNEDV has conducted a one-day unduplicated census of the domestic violence services requested by adults and children across the United States. Our Domestic Violence Counts Census[2] has been instrumental in raising awareness about the work domestic violence agencies do every day, and some of the barriers that keep victims from getting the services they need. From our 2015 Census Report, we learned that 71,828 victims were served and 21,332 hotline calls were answered. However, on the same day, there were 12,197 unmet requests for services – services like emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare, or legal representation.

Another misconception is that leaving an abusive partner is easy. In addition to limited space at shelters and access to affordable housing, fleeing can be the most dangerous time for victims. The risk of homicide increases greatly when the victim is in the process of leaving or after she or he has left.[3]

Most of the time we believe that domestic abuse is only a women’s issue. In your experience, have you had cases of domestic abuse involving other than women?

Yes. Studies have shown that 85 percent of victims of domestic violence were female with a male abuser. However, fifteen percent of domestic violence occurrences were in LGBTQ relationships and men who were abused by a female partner.[4] While it is important to emphasize the heavily gendered nature of this crime, meaning the majority of victims are women who have experienced abuse at hands of men; NNEDV recognizes that men are also victims of domestic violence. Because domestic violence affects us all, it is imperative that we each do our part to address this epidemic and work to create safer homes for all.

I would like to end with a twofold question. The first and most important question is to tell our readers specifically how they can get help if they are victims of domestic abuse. Then, let our readers know how they can volunteer or support to those in need of help in the fight against domestic abuse.

It is important for survivors to know, first and foremost, that abuse is not their fault and they are not alone. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources and planning tools for victims that prioritize safety with abusive partners, or when they’re planning to leave.[5] You can learn more about the services in your area from your state or territorial domestic violence coalition at NNEDV.org/Coalitions[6] or by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline.[7]

This October, we once again honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and NNEDV will be addressing misconceptions about domestic violence through our annual #31n31 campaign. (Previous years’ campaigns include 31 Ways to Get Involved & Help End Domestic Violence; [8] 31 Ways VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA Have Made an Impact;[9] and 31 Survivors’ and Advocates’ Stories. [10]) Through this year’s campaign, we will be challenging perceptions about domestic violence and survivors and igniting change – one conversation at a time.

You can continue to be a voice against violence long after DVAM has ended. There are a number of ways you can support victims of violence including:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION. SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.

 

Resources:

 

  1. NNEDV Projects http://nnedv.org/projects.html
  2. 2015 Domestic Violence Counts National Summary http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2015/DVCounts15_NatlSummary.pdf
  3. Bachman, R. and Salzman, L., U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.Violence Against Women: Estimates From the Redesigned Survey 1. (January 2000).
  4. Rennison, C.M., U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001.  (2003).
  5. Planning for Safety http://nnedv.org/resources/stats/gethelp/ifyouarebeingabused.html
  6. NNEDV Coalitions http://nnedv.org/coalitions
  7. National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org/
  8. #31n31 October 2013 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2013/
  9. #31n31 October 2014 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2014/

#31n31 October 2015 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2015/

 


 

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