The Center for Abused Persons (CAP) held a community breakfast on Thursday to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month and hand out its annual Making a Difference awards.
Representatives from local and state police departments, nearby churches and the Maryland Senate office of Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) gathered at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. The event featured speeches from Charles County figures recognized for their service toward domestic violence awareness as well as award presentations to CAP employees.
Charles County Commissioner’s President Peter Murphy (D) opened the proceedings with a proclamation citing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, received by CAP board of directors President Michelle Bradford.
“I know you do it 12 months out of the year, but we get the opportunity to recognize you this month of October,” Murphy said.
Individual awards were distributed after breakfast to outstanding members of the CAP staff. Coordinator of the Forensic Nurse Examiner program and former CAP board member Debbie Shuck-Reynolds earned the Executive Director’s Award; former CAP board member Mae Wade received the Service Award; and CAP clinical supervisor Theresa Hamilton won the Outstanding Employee Award.
Every year at this event, CAP honors a group of residents with Making a Difference awards as a recognition of service and achievement regarding domestic violence awareness. The trio of plaques handed out on Thursday went to Rosalynd and Tony Manley, Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office chief investigator Ted Jones and the Rev. Howard-John Wesley of Alfred Street Baptist Church. After introductions from sheriff’s office Capt. Stephan Salvas, CAP treasurer, recipients took the podium to share their stories.
The Manleys have been married for six years and both are CEOs of community outreach organizations — Rosalynd runs Daughters with A Purpose and Tony is in charge of Man2Man. The former was abused by a boyfriend beginning at the age of 15, and this experience altered her life until meeting her husband.
“At an early age I had to put on a mask and hide what was going on,” Rosalynd said.
The two spoke about having to cope with domestic violence in their past, Rosalynd as a victim and Tony as a supporter. Their relationship blossomed from a simple text message, and the couple was married within a year of dating. Now they are committed to teaching children about healthy relationships and safe interactions.
“I still do have triggers and I still do have nightmares, but now we’re in the community, we have these mentoring programs, and we’re trying to make a difference,” Rosalynd said.
Jones followed up a long career as a state police officer with a leading role in the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office. He has spent most of his time as an investigator in special assignment details, including a 10-year run with the FBI’s Safe Streets task force. He wrote about his experiences in “Protect and Serve: Reflections of a Maryland State Trooper.”
Jones talked about several cases of domestic violence and spousal abuse during his law enforcement career. His own niece was gunned down by her husband of 12 years, and Jones implored the audience to do whatever they can toward preventing these tragedies in the future.
“We’re soldiers in the daily fight against domestic violence and violence against women,” Jones said. “We’re all like a military platoon, we all serve in different capacities.”
Fellow Alfred Street Baptist Church pastor the Rev. Marcia Norfleet closed the program, accepting the award on behalf of Wesley, who was unable to attend. The church has made strides within its congregation toward shining a light on domestic issues that may have previously been ignored due to the tight-knit nature of religious groups.
“Silence is not always golden, it can shroud a multitude of sins and shame that needs to be exposed,” Norfleet said.
The pastor read a passage from the Bible pertaining to the issue, and explained how it relates to present-day concerns. She also referenced the #MeToo movement, a recent social media campaign uniting victims of sexual harassment and assault. Norfleet pointed out the importance of working together toward combatting these nationwide problems, as it affects people from all walks of life.
“There has to be a holistic approach because we are in this community together,” Norfleet said.