Local playwright brings conversation about domestic violence to stage

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News 12 First at Five/ May 30, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Domestic violence numbers are on the rise in the area. In 2013, Safe Homes of Augusta helped more than 800 victims stuck in violent relationships. Community activists are working to get the message across that violence in the home is not acceptable.

One local playwright is even taking the message to the stage.

Local radio host Miss Monique from Power 107 has written a play called 'Unavailable.' It focuses on the issue of domestic violence. It hits the stage May 31st, but those involved are hoping the effects are felt for a long time after.

Miss Monique draws inspiration for her plays from her personal life, and unfortunately, this play is no different.

"I have friends, family members, myself, who have all been victims of domestic violence," she said.

It's been years since Monique has been a victim, but the scars remain.

"I remember when I went through what I went through and this was in high school. I did not tell anybody. It took me years to really open up about it, she said.

The play gives her pain a voice. It's a way to reach other victims and get them to start talking about the issues.

"A lot of women don't want to talk about it. A lot of women don't want to speak out," she said.

And when she says 'a lot' of women, she means it. In 2013, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office received 2,775 reports of domestic violence, something Director Anthony Page says, the community needs to talk about.

"One of my favorite ministers TD Jakes says, 'The things we don't talk about is what's killing us.' A lot of time people who suffer in those kinds of situations don't want to speak," Page explains.

Page is hoping seeing the effects of domestic violence onstage will empower victims to talk about their own struggles.

"Maybe seeing this play out on the stage, people will be willing to have some of those private conversations. I'm sure they're not going to go tell it on the mountain, but maybe they'll talk to their sister, brother, their parents, and say hey, this is what I'm going through," he says.

Actress Nikolette Amani says the play touches on some of the taboos of domestic violence that people are afraid to address.

"You know people don't want to come forward because they're afraid people are going to judge them and say they did something to make that happen," she explains.

'Unavailable' hits the Imperial Stage Saturday, May 31st at 7:00 PM. You can get tickets online or at the Imperial Theatre box office. Tickets start at $18. There will be some familiar faces on stage including the host, Mayor-elect Hardie Davis and Terrell Carter from Tyler Perry's 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

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