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Contact: Amanda Grady Sexton
October 10, 2019
The Coalition Honors The General Federation of Women’s Clubs-NH and Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi at Annual Celebration
With Special Keynote Speaker Ana Goble
On October 10, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence hosted its Annual Celebration at the Currier Museum to honor several outstanding community partners for their work to support survivors and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.
Ana Goble, the Concord High School teen who bravely reported the inappropriate behavior of former teacher Primo “Howie” Leung and was subsequently suspended for “spreading gossip” was the Coalition’s keynote speaker. In her remarks Ana Goble stated, “I can tell you that speaking up is worth it. Standing up for others is worth it. Doing all you can to make sure no other child is victimized is worth it. Showing up and holding others accountable so no one else is hurt – that is worth it. Choosing to look the other way or to count on others to step in, that is not acceptable. That is not helpful. That is not compassionate. That sends the message to survivors and to perpetrators that we are okay with abuse and violence happening in our community.”
“Ana’s courage and belief in what is right inspired a movement that changed her community for the better,” stated Lyn Schollett, the Executive Director of the Coalition.
Coalition Honoree, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs-NH has hundreds of dedicated members across New Hampshire whose advocacy efforts center on preventing child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Ann Engelhardt, State President of the GFWC-NH accepted the award on behalf of the Federation.
GFWC-NH Chairman, Tina Smith, a survivor of child sexual abuse spoke on behalf of the Federation. “I am here because I want every survivor to know that support is available. I am here because victims’ rights must be taken more seriously by our education and criminal justice systems. I am here because The Coalition showed me what was possible. They have given me, and so many others, hope that we can end domestic and sexual violence.”
The Coalition also honored Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi who has been a champion for victims domestic and sexual violence for over 20 years. In his acceptance speech County Attorney Velardi spoke of the need for equality for victims and survivors, and he highlighted a case of sexual assault of a transgender woman. “People told me that we would never win. We beat the odds of bringing a transgender case in front of a jury, but things like being transgender should not have to enter into the equation. She was a victim of a crime and she deserved her day in court. I was glad to be able to get that for her. That is the kind of thing that rewards me.”
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald helped to present County Attorney Velardi’s award. “During his twenty years with the office, he has been a dogged prosecutor, unafraid to take challenging cases. One of Tom’s greatest contributions is his tremendous commitment to the statewide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program – a program that insures that victims get the best medical care they can and that prosecutors get the best evidence they can.”
Senate President Donna Soucy, a 2014 Honoree of the Coalition for her support and her work to pass Joshua’s Law was also in attendance. “I would like to congratulate this evening’s honorees—all of whom have displayed the courage to do what’s right and stand up for others in the face of great adversity. The Granite State is a better place because of your dedication and tireless advocacy.”
The event also included remarks from two other survivors who have become advocates for other victims here in New Hampshire and nationally.
Chessy Prout, a survivor of sexual assault, stated, “I can’t image my survivorship journey without the Coalition. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Ana Goble for using your voice in the face of adversity and the face of resistance. It’s so important that survivors’ voices are heard.”
Tiffany Roberts, a survivor of domestic violence spoke to the issue of economic abuse. “The second my abuser knew I was serious about leaving he transferred all of the money from our joint personal checking account to an account only he had access to. This is not a portion of my story I share easily, but for weeks after I left my children and I slept on the floor of my business. I pretended we were camping, while in reality we were homeless. A lack of resources can force victims to make unenviable decisions, but it doesn't have to be this way, that is why I am so proud of the Coalition's Housing First and Economic Empowerment Programs.
The Coalition is grateful for the support of our Honorees, tonight’s speakers, and our community of allies working to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) is a statewide network committed to ending sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. The NHCADSV and its 13 member programs do not discriminate based on gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental, or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation. Online at www.nhcadsv.org
A special thank you to our Annual Celebration sponsors who make our work possible.