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It is with great pride that the R.O.S.E. Fund announces actress Olympia Dukakis will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual Awards Gala in October.

Dukakis, a Lowell, MA native, has long been acclaimed for her candid advocacy of women’s rights.  With her unparalleled command of the spoken word, she has raised both funds and awareness of domestic violence, giving a voice to many victims who cannot or are afraid to speak for themselves.

In a 2007 interview with BroadwayWorld.com, Dukakis described domestic violence as a “pandemic in this country,” noting the importance of performance as a method for raising consciousness of what can be hidden issues.

“As artists,” she said, “we are out there, forward, visible, and we can … have an influence.”

rootsweb.ancestry.com

rootsweb.ancestry.com

Dukakis has donated time to numerous organizations benefiting domestic violence victims, survivors and prevention programs, including the Women’s Center, Western New York Women’s Fund, University of New Hampshire’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, and the National Domestic Violence Project.

Born in 1931, Dukakis won the 1988 Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck, as well as a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film Award.  Her career highlights also include roles in Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland’s Opus and appearances on such popular TV shows as “The Simpsons” and “Frasier.”

This year’s additional honorees include Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick and Sarah Buel, UT law professor and co-founder of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The 14th Annual R.O.S.E. Fund Awards Gala will take place on October 13, 2009 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

About the R.O.S.E. Fund

The R.O.S.E. Fund (Regaining One’s Self Esteem) provides female survivors of domestic violence with free medical and dental procedures, facial reconstructive surgeries, cash awards and scholarship monies.  Since it was founded 1992, the R.O.S.E. Fund has invested more than $1 million in these women, their families and their futures, enabling them to re-build their lives and regain their self-esteem.   For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.rosefund.org or contact Kait at (415) 216-8494 or Kait@redarrowcomm.com.

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Image courtesy of petswelcome.com

Image courtesy of petswelcome.com

The last several weeks have been particularly busy ones here at the R.O.S.E. Fund, as we’ve been working diligently with our medical partners to get treatment for as many women as we could prior to the July 4th holiday.  The effort has been a huge and satisfying success.

A number of these women haven’t attended traditional July 4th celebrations with their family and friends for a few years or more.  They’ve avoided these gatherings because they are too embarrassed by the facial scars and dental injuries that they live with as a result of an abusive relationship.  They’re too ashamed to have to explain what happened to them, too tired to talk about it and answer all of the unavoidable questions.

“How could you let that happen to you?”
“Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

It’s no way to relax over a holiday.

However, thanks to the support of the R.O.S.E. Fund friends and family, these were able to celebrate their own freedom, pride and independence over the holiday weekend.   Below is the story of a recent R.O.S.E. Award recipient who will be seeing her family and celebrating with them at their annual July 4th cookout … for the first time in 2 years.

Image courtesy of jimdalyblog.com

Image courtesy of jimdalyblog.com

Tamara* has suffered from bouts of depression and been particularly reclusive for the past few years.  Her melancholy outlook stems from the abuse she suffered in her last relationship and the embarrassment she experiences from the resulting scars.  The abusive relationship left her with low self-esteem, as well as facial scars and a range of dental issues; most notably, Tamara is missing her front tooth.  Her dreams of reuniting with her extended family at their annual 4th of July cookout have finally come true since the onset of her injuries.

Tamara’s Story

I grew up in Boston; Jamaica Plain.  There were two of us: Mom and me and, later, my little sister.   Mom was a nurse.

Now I’m 38, my sister is 24.  I have two boys, ages 20 and 12.  My oldest boy graduated high school and is through one year of college.  He’s [hoping to become] a Medical Assistant.  My youngest will be in seventh grade in September.   They’re good boys.

My [passion] is helping the elderly; I [was] a nurse’s aide and I want to get back to that.  I want to take good care of my Mom, as she needs it.  I want to make enough [of a] salary for her to come and live with me.

There were some fun times with my husband, especially in our first few years.   Abuse happened slowly and there we’re definitely warning signs.  I overlooked them.

It started with verbal abuse.  I was “good for nothing,” et cetera. I should have caught the warning signs; I should have [left] then, but a lot of women stay in a relationship for the children or financial issues.  That was me.  I took his “sorry”s and “I love you'”s, but it became physical.

One of the last times, he cut my face with a knife and punched me so hard that his fist broke my front tooth, resulting with me going to the hospital.  I had been with him for eight years,  but I had enough.  I knew I had to pack up my kids and go. I had to wake up before he killed me.

I packed myself up and a lady, [my advocate,] took me in.  When I first met her, I was in no condition to talk about all that pain again.  She told me, “I’m here to help YOU!  You’re the one will have to go back out into the world again. Your kids need you.”

I started opening up and the talk was good.  She told me about The R.O.S.E. Fund and said, “There’s help for you – right here in Boston!”    I really didn’t believe it.  Why would people want to help me?

The first time I went to Dr. Corbett’s office with the other R.O.S.E. Fund ladies, he and his staff were so welcoming.   He had a choice of coffees and teas that you’d like to have in the morning.  He took x-rays, made us feel so at home and even said I had beautiful teeth.   That was wonderful to hear.  Then, he measured me for an oral implant and matched my teeth up with it.

Image courtesy of newsimg.bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of newsimg.bbc.co.uk

Dr. Corbett is a very patient, kind man.  He said, “It’s okay.  I’m going to make you beautiful again.”  That just melted my heart away!  Having my teeth fixed by Dr. Corbett and The R.O.S.E. Fund just shoots my self esteem right up!  At first, I was embarrassed and still can’t smile, [since I feel like]  people are staring at me.  But keeping in touch with The R.O.S.E. Fund reminds me: This is all going to change.

Through The R.O.S.E. Fund, I received dental work and a tooth implant from Dr. Corbett; he and his staff used FedEx so the implant would make it in time for the holiday.  I have also started treatment for the scar removal with Dr. Mack Cheney at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  I can’t believe the treatment I have received.  I will soon look like I’m sixteen again: Beautiful and unmarked!  And this weekend, like everybody else, I’ll be at a cookout in the ‘burbs with my friends and family.

To the R.O.S.E. Fund supporters, partners and staff: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!  Getting my teeth fixed and scars removed has changed my life!  You have no idea how much it helps me every day of my life.  Please keep up the good work for those of us who so desperately need it.

Tamara

*Names have been changed for the purpose of safety and confidentiality

Launched in 2009, the R.O.S.E. Fund Research and Report Card Program is focused on researching domestic violence (DV) best-practices and simplifying them to create an actionable set of tools.  The program allows concerned citizens to play a role in breaking the silence and the cycle of DV in their local communities with a scorecard of three critical questions:

  • What’s the specific impact of DV in my home town?
  • How capable is my home town of dealing with this issue?
  • What can and should I do about it?
Image courtesy of am.dodea.edu

Image courtesy of am.dodea.edu

These questions allow individuals to conduct a ‘Community Impact Analysis,’ enabling them to assess and better understand the impact of DV in their respective communities.  These questions create the ability to benchmark and compare how effectively communities leverage best-practices around DV awareness, education, intervention and prevention.

Lastly, the program provides a keen sense, or “roadmap,” of methods to improve a community’s response to DV.

The R.O.S.E. Fund Research and Report Card has been developed in conjunction with volunteers and advisors known for their expertise in what successfully increases DV prevention.  Theprogram promises to accelerate the pace at which we break both the silence and the cycle of DV in our communities.

Plastic surgeon Dr. John B. Lazor, M.D., FACS and friend of the R.O.S.E. Fund. Dr. Lazor has been with the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary since 1991. After becoming a Fellow in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1995, he began to serve on MEEI’s Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center team.

Plastic surgeon Dr. John B. Lazor, M.D., FACS and friend of the R.O.S.E. Fund. Dr. Lazor has been with the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary since 1991. After becoming a Fellow in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1995, he began to serve on MEEI’s Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center team.

In partnership with leading hospitals and doctors across the country, the R.O.S.E. Fund provides free medical and surgical care to women disfigured by acts of domestic violence.   Surgeries and procedures range from scar revisions and dental work, to cosmetic reconstructive surgery for the head, neck, and face.

Facts on the Reconstructive Surgery Program

  • Established in partnership with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) in 2000.
  • Has since expanded nationally with participating doctors and hospitals throughout New England and Illinois, to Missouri, New York, New Jersey, and California.
  • Focused on erasing the physical reminders of a survivor’s abusive past in order to dramatically increase her self-esteem.
  • Offers access to a wide range of medical services to include:
    • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeries including, scar revisions (from cuts and burns) and rhinoplasty (i.e. nose job)
    • Medical services and surgeries associated with the head, neck, ears, nose and throat (ENT), including nasal, larynx/voice box, breathing/respiratory and hearing issues.
    • Dental and orthodontic issues, such as chipped and missing teeth, gum disorders and other cosmetic dental issues
    • Oral/Maxillofacial procedures associated with injuries of the jaw, as well as eating and chewing issues.

We are actively seeking applications for the R.O.S.E. reconstructive surgery program.

Do you know an inspirational woman who has overcome the cycle and silence of domestic violence?

Nominate her for the 2009 R.O.S.E. Award; we will invest $10,000 toward the winner’s empowerment and future!

About the R.O.S.E. Fund Awards

Jill Hrubes, R.O.S.E. Award Winner. Jill recently earned her BA in Women’s Studies and Social Justice from Simmons College.

Jill Hrubes, R.O.S.E. Award Winner. Jill recently earned her BA in Women’s Studies and Social Justice from Simmons College.

Each fall, the R.O.S.E. Fund hosts an Awards Gala to honor organizations and individuals that promote and exemplify the core tenets and values of the R.O.S.E. Fund mission.  The R.O.S.E. Awards recognize:

  • Individuals that have dedicated a lifetime to raising the self-esteem of women.
  • Innovative organizations playing leadership roles in increasing the safety and self-esteem of women.
  • Inspirational women that have broken the cycle of domestic violence and have a powerful story to tell. (This distinction is  accompanied by a cash award of  $10,000.00 )
  • Outspoken advocates of domestic violence that have profoundly increased DV education, awareness and prevention.

This formal event, which attracts over 350 people annually, is held each Fall in Boston, Massachusetts.  This year’s 2009 event will be held on Tuesday, October 13th at the Boston Fairmont Copley from 5:30-9:00 p.m. Register now for our Annual Awards Event.

We’re on a search to recognize and reward a woman who has demonstrated indomitable determination in overcoming the challenges of being a domestic violence victim. We’re looking for a woman who has also gone on to succeed and find independence that can inspire others.

Do you know such a person?  Click here to nominate her. Help tell her story.