Break the Cycle: Samaritan House in Virginia Beach kicks off the #Paint757Purple campaign

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Father, Veteran and fitness model shares his story of overcoming abuse

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A local non-profit in Virginia Beach kicks off its #Paint757Purple campaign Thursday.

The Samaritan house offers a 24- hour hotline (757-430-2120), counseling, emergency shelter placement, legal advice, children’s services, and safety planning.

About 50 businesses agreed to stand against domestic violence and donate a quarter of Thursday’s proceeds to the organization. The goal is to raise money and awareness of all forms of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is one of those causes, that we often see the sadness and the darkness around it. We really want to show, the light, healing, and hope that is possible. We really see that every day, with the families that come through our doors and receive help from our programs,” explained Eva Fuze, Samaritan House marketing coordinator. 

“We see them go back to school to get jobs. [Then] provide really bright futures for their kids. We see that healing, that is what we are trying to show with the #Paint757Purple campaign. There is hope after violence.”

This is the third year for the fundraiser.

“Every year it’s grown. In the last two years, we’ve been able to incorporate two murals,” said Fuze.

The 2018 awareness mural is located on the Annex Collaborative Studio. This year, local artists Aimee Bruce and Rosemarie Spracklin were selected to paint the #LoveShouldntHurt mural. It will be completed by the end of October, at 2100 Atlantic Avenue.

“We’re glad that the mural provides a really vibrant, uplifting welcome to the city, but it also has a really strong purpose,” she said. “These awareness murals are some of the only in Hampton Roads tied to a non-profit cause.”

The murals are a powerful tribute to domestic violence victims and survivors of all shapes.

Brian King said he grew up with an abusive dad.

“My dad would come home, mad [or] drunk. [Then] Get pissed off or mad that dinner wasn’t right. Then flip the table over,” King explained. “One time in particular [he] threw an ashtray, [it] smashed on my mom to the point she was bleeding. After that is when he got up and started trying to go after her. I jumped in her lap to try to protect her and was taking punches. After that, I had run out of the house with her to go to the neighbors. They took my mom and me to the hospital.”

He says harmful behavior was somewhat normal growing up. Memories of physical abuse as a young child still haunt him.

“Your first instinct is ‘no, don’t hurt mom,” he explained. “My mom is a strong person. She took a lot of that abuse, kind of, behind closed doors too.”

The verbal abuse was so bad, he had speech problems.

“I wasn’t allowed to talk. I wasn’t allowed to be a kid. I was told to shut up in not the most polite way,” said King.

The abuse stopped after his parents broke up. He joined the Navy then became a police officer. “It’s always been in my nature to be like a protector.”

But it took years of faith and therapy to undo the trauma. 

“There is a peace there now, but I mean, there are still a lot of scars. A lot of emotional scars.”

Now, as a father and successful fitness model with over 200,000 followers on Instagram, he shares his story to help survivors heal.

“I don’t want people to hurt,” King said tearfully. “It’s okay to step up. I feel like God’s called me to be brave and to speak and say that you can overcome these things.”

King partnered with the organization to help encourage survivors, including boys and men, to get help.

“It’s important because there is plenty of men or boys that are victims and they can go their whole life and it can affect their life. If me speaking out gives them a chance, or avenue and hope to be able to be strong enough to go get help and possibly change their life for the better. That’s the best gift that you can give really.”

For Domestic Violence Awareness month, Kiahnna Patterson will join WAVY News 10 Today every Wednesday morning to start the conversation and share programs around Hampton Roads to help break the silence.

Here are some local and national resources for victims in need of help.

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

  • Phone: 757-625-4248
  • Offers counseling, youth and crisis services.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757-251-0144

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

  • Phone: 757-258-5022
  • Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

HER Shelter in Portsmouth

  • Phone: 757-485-1445
  • Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
  • Hotline: 757-485-3384

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

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