No one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors, but one thing’s for sure, domestic violence is among them. For many, domestic violence is a sensitive subject — one that doesn’t get broached in pop culture as often as it should especially for how damaging the effects can be. While October marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there’s never been a better time to open a dialogue about the issue and invite a conversation about what can be done to fix it. Furthermore, on Saturday, November 11 at Syntax Physic Opera, local Denver musicians Mawule, YaSi, DJ Zenas and Kayla Marque will rally together to host a fundraiser to bring awareness to domestic and sexual violence and benefit SafeHouse Denver, Inc.
SafeHouse Denver, Inc. is the only agency in the City and County of Denver that assists adults and children with both emergency shelter and non-residential counseling from domestic violence situations. Their mission is to help those affected to “reclaim their right to a life free of domestic violence.” That mission, hits close to home for Mawule, who besides being a musician works in higher education and has dealt with abuse on several different levels.
“I’m not going to go into my story, but, I myself am a survivor. Working in higher education for the past six years, domestic and sexual violence is something we deal with almost on a weekly basis. In fact, I had a sexual assault just last night in my building. To me, it’s something that hits home, because it’s something I see my students dealing with a lot, and as a result, I, in essence, become a secondary survivor of their stories,” said Mawule.
Concerning whether the fundraiser holds special meaning to her, Kayla Marque, who will perform an intimate acoustic showcase at the event, said, “As an artist I believe I have a responsibility to the community – to empower them, support them, and bring awareness to issues through my craft. My music is not about these issues specifically, but we as artists have a platform to bring people together, to heal, and to really make a difference.”
The fundraiser comes at a time when the #MeToo movement is beginning to bring awareness to the abusive nature of those with power, not just in Hollywood, but even right down the street. However, even as just a hashtag, the movement is opening a discussion on just how prevalent systems of abuse are, something YaSi, who will also perform at the fundraiser has dealt with first hand.
“The #MeToo movement is great but also really sad seeing how many woman and men for that matter, have faced sexual assault in their lives. I have unfortunately been in a #MeToo situation, maybe not as extreme, but a situation nonetheless, where I was forced to place blame on myself for someone else’s actions. It’s a really toxic way of thinking.”
In performing at the fundraiser, these artists are putting themselves in a brave position to make their audiences aware of their actions and to hopefully find some perspective from it.
While Yasi, DJ Zenas and Kayla Marque will take over performing duties, Mawule will premier the visuals to his song “It’s Not You,” as a stark representation of how domestic violence affects people, especially women.
“The music video follows four women through everyday experiences. In the video, we tried to focus on different types of violence — different ways that women are hurt through everyday actions. We tried to focus on a lot of actions that many men do, but don’t consider the impact on women, and from there, go through and break them down. That’s why at the end we rewind it, and the men in the video after their respective scenes, look up at the end in acknowledgment of their actions,” he said.
As a whole, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Fundraiser is bigger than a concert. Whether behind closed doors or in full sight, there are hidden scares that many people carry with them as a result of such violence and this fundraiser is acknowledging them with a strong message.