Members gathered at the East Tennessee History Center on the evening of November 10th to continue a dialogue of grave importance to the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee. The educational forum on domestic violence and human trafficking, titled Stop the Violence Against Women & Girls: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, What We Can Do featured special guest, Governor Bill Haslam. Additionally, the program welcomed a discussion panel comprised of Knox County District Attorney, Charme Allen; FBI Special Agent, Cynthia Deitle; and the Executive Director of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Kate Trudell.
During the discussion with the panel, guests shared where they stand in regards to domestic violence in East Tennessee. Deitle simply defines human trafficking as “nothing more than slavery and forced labor.” Charme reported that she has three attorneys tackling domestic violence cases in her office. In hopes of decreasing the manifestation of human trafficking, Trudell stated her office’s ploy to train individuals to identify victims.
During his brief talk, Governor Haslam cited a local case. On October 28th, Knoxville received a reminder that domestic violence is present in our community. Kimberly Enix was killed and her daughter was kidnapped in a domestic violence case involving Kimberly’s husband, Tyler Enix. Governor Haslam continued by pointing to the progress the Women’s Fund is making and commended our efforts. Various actions have been taken by our state to contest domestic violence. Family justice centers have opened across the state as a resource for victims. Since 2010 these centers, in conjunction with recently passed stiffer laws, have aided in the 14.8 percent decline of domestic violence. However, we mustn’t stop there.
Stop the Violence was successful as well as educational. It is imperative that awareness is spread in regards to what we know and what we don’t know… and moving forward what we can do. Wendy Pitts Reeves, Chair of TN Women’s Economic Summit Eastern Region provided information on 101 Ways to Make a Difference, and Dawn Coppock, attorney and nationally known poet read a poem she created for this event. The aforementioned individuals and events like this ignite a dialogue that allows our community to advocate for diminishing domestic violence.
Check out Knoxville News Sentinal's coverage of the event here: