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Vera House Holding Virtual 'Breakfast for Dinner' As Part Of White Ribbon Campaign

Two survivors of domestic violence will share their stories Monday evening as part of Vera House’s virtual breakfast for dinner. White Ribbon Campaign co-chairs Emad Rahim and Marissa Saunders say the cause is close to their hearts, and it’s important to speak up and advocate.


“I’m a survivor of both domestic and sexual violence so for me it’s a personal reason. If I’m sharing and they see me sharing. They hear me sharing. It might encourage them to use their voice as well.” said Saunders

“I think it was critical to put myself out there and say someone that looks like me is currently talking about this and that this is perfectly fine. That it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to speak out. It’s okay to reach out for help when needed.” said Rahim.

The social effects of isolation are becoming increasingly apparent as we approach one year since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.  Rahim and Saunders say while that’s resulted in escalated incidents of domestic abuse, support is still available.

“People don’t have a safe space to reach out for help. They may be stuck in a home with a person that’s abusing them. So they’re unable to find a space to call for help.” said Rahim.

“Everything that Vera House was once doing they’re still doing it and that’s important to know too. Even with COVID they have shifted the best way possible.” said Saunders.

Vera House reported they answered 4,927 calls and 271 chats on their crisis and support lines in 2020. They say the calls have gotten more intense and complex during the pandemic.

With the breakfast for dinner event going virtual this year, Rahim hopes

this will increase accessibility to the event.  It takes place Monday, March 1st from 6 to 7 pm.  The White Ribbon Campaign continues through next month.  More information can be found at  The 24 hour crisis and support line is (315) 468-3260.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at