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Malaak Compton Rock Talks Domestic Violence in Our Community: Breaking the Silence, Our Black Men & Raising Strong Little Girls

I spent last Thursday at Liz Claiborne's NYC showroom talking about domestic violence. And I couldn't help but feel a bit emotionally spent. Heavy stuff.

I was invited to Liz Claiborne's "It's Time to Talk Day" –a national day of dialogue on domestic violence and teen dating abuse, where leading voices come together for a day of radio and blogging about a topic that just doesn't get enough talk time.

Of course, my mind was on our community. Our issues.

Enter activist and philanthropist Malaak Compton Rock. The wife of my favorite comedian, Chris Rock, Malaak takes service very seriously. You probably saw Malaak's phenomenal "Journey for Change" youth empowerment program with teens from Bushwick, Brooklyn, featured on CNN's Black in America 2.

Malaak and I had a candid conversation about domestic violence in the Black community. Here's a snippet from our chat:

Kimberly: How is domestic violence different for us?

Malaak: "The silence is killing us. I think the white community has done a good job showing that domestic violence is not a poor woman's problem. They have changed the face of domestic violence to show that educated, career women suffer as well. We haven't. "

Kimberly: I think that if you are "successful" and you have that positive black family image going on, its even more pressure to keep up that appearance and not break up another black family.

Malaak: You're right. There's a lot of fear of breaking up the family, and we need more affluent women to come out of the closet. There is a fear that I'm alone. We have to take the stigma out of the issue and add more faces and voices to that pain. I think it needs to start in Black magazines and even websites like yours.

Kimberly: What can our men do?

Malaak: "I will tell you this, my husband is very aware of how he treats me because he knows our two daughters are learning how to be treated by a man by his dealings with me. It all starts in the home. Fathers need to be involved with their daughters, teaching them what they deserve and should expect in any future relationship."

Kimberly: That's powerful.

Malaak: "I know this, women who are strong, confident and secure in who they are, were raised by fathers who instilled that into them. "

As a mother of a little black girl and little black boy, I feel on both sides of the issue. But one thing seemsMalaak and I at Liz Claiborne's "It's Time to Talk" Day

 

certain. Of all the things we can give our children, giving them a strong sense of self seems like our most important task.

In motherhood,

Kimberly

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