InterAct – Courageous Voices Tour
By Alex Matsuo
Written on 1/26/17
Today, I had the honor of taking InterAct’s Courageous Voices tour. As the organizer for V-Day Raleigh and director for this year’s production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”, I felt it was my duty to see firsthand what InterAct does for our community on a daily basis. I knew what to expect visually, but I had no idea what how my heart would react to what I saw.
Domestic violence is a real problem in Wake County, and InterAct is the only shelter for victims of domestic violence in the county. 1 in 3 women is a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault. In Wake County alone, we’re talking about 100,000 women. InterAct helped 40,000 people last year get away from their abusers and start their life anew. Not only do they help these women, but they also provide support for their children too, as well as men. Each woman spends about 8 weeks with InterAct, where they learn skills to enter the workforce, get their confidence and self-worth back, learn how to budget, find an apartment, and get their lives back. 90% of the women InterAct has helped do not go back to their abusers. Why is this important? Nationally, about half of all shelter residents return to their abusers.
InterAct also has the Solace Center, where victims of rape and sexual assault can have a quiet place to get examined, submit their clothes for evidence, get a hot shower, and a change of clothes. Afterward, they are contacted by one of InterAct’s counselors for counseling and help. Again, the Solace Center is the only place that does this in Wake County, and it is the first of its kind in North Carolina.
During the tour, we got to hear stories of women who have been helped by InterAct. These stories hit me hard, and often I found it hard to hold back tears. It’s one thing to hear about all of the amazing work InterAct does, but it’s a whole different level to see it in person. Throughout the tour, I thought of the monologues, and the women Eve Ensler talked about when she was developing The Vagina Monologues. I wondered if any of them ever had the chance to use a facility like InterAct.
This made the work of V-Day Raleigh that much more important to me. It has given me the drive to make the production not only successful, but I want it to impact Wake County. Domestic violence is a very real issue, and it needs to stop. If we’re ever going to heal from these deep wounds, we need to come together to show these women they are supported and loved.