Pitch Black Fashion Says #SilentNoMore
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in four women and one in seven men in America will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. It was in response to the pain and heartache caused by this epidemic that Pitch Black Fashion Week was born, a 3-day event empowering people to speak out and fight against the disease that is domestic abuse.
This production was particularly inspired by a model in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2012 during a disagreement. He shot model, Vanessa Banks, in the face before killing himself.
On Saturday, July 28, the Pitch Black Fashion Week hosted a Masquerade Dinner Gala in Atlanta, Ga, where the guests were asked to wear a masquerade mask to symbolize the mask which domestic abuse survivors wear everyday when they do not speak out against their abuse. Three strong women stood up to share their survival stories of domestic abuse – physical, sexual, and emotional – before removing their masks.
Often times, abusers will use the shame and guilt their abuse causes to their advantage, and they will convince you that speaking up about your experiences will cause you more pain and humiliation than remaining silent. The founders of PBFW are passionate about helping victims escape abusive situations and relationships, and they will be hosting a production in Philadelphia for the first time this upcoming September.
The final speaker of the evening was sexually abused by the second most powerful man on the island which she grew up on, and this occurred under the supervision of her mother. Her heart-wrenching story drew an emotional response from the entire crowd who teared up as she, herself, nearly broke down after revealing her thoughts and feelings amid the chaos of keeping her abuse a secret.
Her mother told her she would cut out her daughter’s tongue and hang her with it if she ever told anyone the truth- that she had essentially been prostituted by her mother at 13-years-old. The speaker confessed to the crowd that she had attempted suicide on three different occasions, and it was not until after the third attempt that she found someone to tell her story to, that she started to discover ways to ease her suffering without abandoning the physical world.
She then proceeded to list out the ‘ABC’s of moving forward after domestic abuse:
A- Acknowledge that something happened to you. Stop sweeping [your pain] under the pain, and stop laughing at the jokes made about something that hurt you like Hell. Stop giving away your power. Yes, it happened. You did not do it to yourself, but it happened. So, acknowledge that.
B- Believe in yourself again. Believe that you are the most wonderful, beautiful, precious creature that God created on this Earth. Believe that He hears, that He knows, and that one day you will be vindicated. Believe that you can do so much more, that you are worth something, that you are powerful. When you believe this, it will happen.
C- Confide in someone. This one can be the hardest of them all- which is why we are sometimes silent, right? Telling somebody can sometimes feel impossible, but that is where the healing begins. Find somebody you think you can trust, and confide in them. That will propel you into your healing. Cry, scream, yell- do whatever it is you have to do to let all of that toxicity out. In order to begin living again after this trauma, you must speak about it.
We encourage any of our readers who have been victims of domestic abuse to be #SilentNoMore, and to reach out and find help. Do not let your abuser use fear to coerce you into yourself, into silence, and talk to someone who can support you through your trauma. We have America’s national abuse hotline listed below, and many other countries offer hotlines for support as well.
The United States Domestic Abuse Hotline is