As the wind and rain whipped through the afternoon air in East New York, a bullhorn was passed throughout the walking crowd to anyone who wanted to spread a message, and the faint voice of a 5-year-old could be heard chanting, “Stop domestic violence,” while she held onto her mother’s leg.

Sisters Building Sisters in Brooklyn’s second annual Walk to End Domestic Violence in East New York and Abroad, led by founders Rosalyn McIntosh and her daughter Nyasha Adams Rivera, took place despite the weather conditions this past weekend.

“People kept calling to see if we were going to still have the walk, but I decided, rain or shine, we would be walking to take down the global monster of domestic violence,” said McIntosh.

The feeling was shared among the attendees, which included members of Man Up, Jericho Road and Monday Night Therapy, a weekly soccer group.

According to statistics, domestic violence is more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods where unemployment is on the rise. SBSB focuses on empowering those in underserved communities who don’t have the knowledge or resources to get help.

“Domestic abuse is a byproduct of oppression, and oppression of any type is wrong,” said Herve Bertrand, a member of Monday Night Therapy, as he walked with SBSB. “Education of any type is important. If two people are talking about it, it’s important.”

Educating women and young girls on how to recognize unhealthy behaviors and how to build confidence is one of SBSB’s missions. According to the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, the percentage of Black youth who experienced being “hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose” is double in comparison to their white counterparts. SBSB’s mentorship program for the youth is a preventative measure that its founders have made a priority.

The mentees were at the forefront of the walk, lending their voices to a cause that has riddled their community. It was evident that they were enthusiastic about paying forward what they have learned. Jazmine Jada Scott Brayboy, 18, has been involved with SBSB’s mentorship program for three years.

“For me, it was kind of my self-esteem and my attitude, and since I’ve been in the program I’ve seen that changing in myself,” said Brayboy. “I’m more outspoken.”

Although she hasn’t dealt with domestic violence personally, her parents did when they were younger—at the start of their relationship—and she wants to help others who may be in toxic relationships.

“I like to give back to my community, and I support the cause of supporting domestic violent victims because I feel like if you’re in a relationship that you want to get out of, you’ll have people there who can help you through the process,” said Brayboy.

One mentee who led the walk, bullhorn in hand, was 16-year-old Deanna Wallace. The charismatic teenager, who hasn’t dealt with domestic violence, recently joined the mentorship program. She expressed the importance of everyone coming together and wasn’t going to let the rain or wind deter her from making an impact.

“I feel like if I’m here, then why can’t anybody else be here,” said Wallace. “Even if they haven’t been a victim of domestic violence I feel that they should be a part of this.”

Wallace also thinks that the impact of the SBSB’s annual domestic violence walks and others like it will be a deterrent for abusers.

“I think this will help a lot of people think before they hit their loved ones,” said Wallace. “Instead, they should say I love you.”

Councilwoman Inez Barron walked with the group and wanted to “encourage the young people to know that they can break the cycle.” “Young people don’t duplicate the negative things that you may have experienced as a child,” said Barron.

The councilwoman also commended McIntosh and Rivera for their continued dedication, efforts to spread awareness and for turning their idea into action.

Statistics from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey showed that nearly 44 percent of Black women in the U.S. were victims of domestic violence of some sort—rape, stalking or physical violence—in their lifetime. The survey also showed that nearly 30 percent of rapes happened between the ages of 11 and 17.

Victims of abuse at such an early age grow up accepting it as part of a “normal” occurrence. They suffer in silence because domestic violence is often thought of as a private matter. Some stay in abusive relationships because they low self-esteem, believe their partner will change or are embarrassed, part of a religion or culture that prohibit them from leaving, are financially dependent on the abuser or fearful of retribution.

Assemblyman Charles Barron took the bullhorn to tell the residents of East New York that victims should not suffer alone because domestic violence affects the community as a whole.

“We march against police brutality, we march against racism in this system, and now it’s time for us to take care of business at home and march against domestic violence,” said Charles Barron.

The reach of SBSB is growing. Many of the attendees came out because they heard about the event by word of mouth. Ruth Ahamad, Nicolas Brun and Soheir Hassan were among those who felt compelled to walk despite any direct connection to SBS or domestic violence.

“I thought it would be good to come. Women should stick together in some form or fashion, and if they’re doing anything positive to help the women, then people should come out,” said Ahamad.

“If they’re having any sort of issue, they should go to therapy and treat their problem instead of hitting somebody,” said Brun, a member of Monday Night Therapy, regarding men who choose to use violence as a coping mechanism.

“I’m walking to stop this violence because we hear about it a lot,” said Hassan, who is originally from Egypt but has been living in the neighborhood for 26 years.

SBSB is building a better Brooklyn, especially for the newer generation. For more information on upcoming events and workshops, please visit