To promote domestic violence awareness in October, walks and rallies usually fill up the month, but the Center Against Domestic Violence broke away from tradition and held its first pop-up shop event, “Shop Till It Stops,” this past weekend at the Living Gallery in Crown Heights.
Danielle Gallagher, communications associate for the organization, and Sherry Tagoe, a coordinator for the center’s teen outreach program, Relationship Abuse Prevention, helped to make sure that the event ran smoothly. The pop-up shop was an initiative to reach a demographic that is not always forthcoming about issues of abuse.
“We thought it was a good way to reach our younger constituents. Most of our constituents are not younger, they’re typically in the 35 to 55 range so we wanted to try to hit below that. A pop-up event is young and fun, so that’s why we put it together,” said Gallagher.
Statistics show that violent behavior begins between the ages of 12 and 18, and 94 percent of female victims are between the ages of 16 and 19. It’s important that younger generations know the warning signs of all types of abuse. When Tagoe conducts workshops in high school and middle school, she finds that the students’ understanding of abuse is limited.
“Physical abuse is the most common, they rarely bring up financial abuse and they rarely bring up verbal abuse,” said Tagoe. “I’m noticing things coming up, even the way they interact with each other that can be seen as abusive, and they don’t even think about it.”
The organizers of the event were not sure what to expect. It was held on a chilly fall day in a small hole-in-the-wall gallery. But shoppers and supporters came out. They made just under $3,000 in profits.
“It’s been really successful and well-received, and a lot of people are mingling from different places in the city, which has been great,” said Tagoe.
Walking into the gallery’s cozy space automatically felt inviting. The walls were lined with artwork representing the silent suffering victims often go through. Tagoe created two of the pieces. Soulful music played. Pamphlets were fanned out on a table. Food and beverages were being sold in the backyard of the gallery. Dresses, pants, shoes, coats, sweaters, shirts and jewelry were for sale in each corner, all being sold for $20 or less.
Items were donated from various groups. Clothing came from the companies Eileen Fisher, Crossroads Trading Company and L.E.S. amis and from members of a boxing gym, Work Train Fight. Diana Mino, startup founder and owner of Mama D’s Tasty Treats, donated 25 percent of her proceeds to the center. Food and beverages were donated by Brooklyn Mac, Sahadi’s and Brooklyn Brewery.
Toward the end of the event, raffle prizes were given out, including a purple purse from Kerry Washington’s Purple Purse Challenge (sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue), a soap basket from Flynn & King, duvets from Remodo, a gift card donated by TJ Maxx and an iced coffee basket from High Bridge Cold Coffee.
All the proceeds from donated clothes sold went to the center to help fund its efforts in the community. Most things that were not sold would be donated to the center and distributed to members of its shelters or saved for another pop-up shop in the spring.
The shelter is one of the fundamental sources of safety that the center offers. In 1977, when the center first opened, it offered a safe haven for women who had no place to go. “We were the first agency to offer shelter to women in domestic violence situations,” said Gallagher.
Now the center has three shelters. There are two in Brooklyn and one in East Harlem, which now also shelters men. Men, women and children can stay for up to six months while the center helps them find more stability.
For more information about the Center Against Domestic Violence and its services, visit www.cadvny.org.