She planned her event on Sept. 11 intentionally.
Though it’s the day the world will forever link with terrorist attacks in the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people, Kamal Dhillon wanted to also draw attention to the domestic violence taking place daily in communities everywhere.
“What about the terrorists in our own lives, in our own homes, in our own beds?” asked the Surrey author and speaker. “I’m bringing up those ones that we don’t even think of who are causing the war in our lives.”
Dhillon is the author of Black and Blue Sari, a book detailing her years living with a brutally abusive husband, and her subsequent escape and survival. For the past few years she has spoken throughout Canada and the U.S.
She has organized An Evening to Stand United in Surrey this week. The evening, which includes dinner, entertainment by Juno nominee Kelita, and a silent auction, will serve as a fundraiser for Kamal’s ongoing anti-domestic abuse efforts.
She hopes the funds generated will help her develop a product that victimized women can hide in their shoe that has phone numbers for crisis lines and transition homes.
“I’ve found if I give my card to women, they reluctantly take it because they know that if their abuser goes through their wallet or purse – which happens much of the time – they could be caught,” explained Dhillon.
“So they don’t take materials to put in their purse because it’s not safe for them.”
Something in a shoe, constructed of a material more durable than paper, but would allow women to discretely hide potentially life-saving contact information.
She also hopes to raise funds so that if she’s invited to speak and a group is unable to fund her travel, she’s still able to attend and spread her message.
“I don’t want to lose out because (an organization) can’t pay,” Dhillon said. “What if there’s a woman who really needs to hear it and doesn’t feel like anybody cares? That’s when I go in and say ‘look at my injuries, look what I’ve been through.’ I understand and can give them hope.”
Dhillon was assaulted for years by her husband, his strikes to her face injuring her jaw so badly she is scheduled to have her 10th surgery – a jaw prosthetic replacement – next month.
But through it all, even the operations, she stays in touch with those needing guidance.
“I will never stop. I think you need to give them hope that you (abuse victims) are not alone. You will make it.”
A Evening to Stand United – Empowering Families & Communities to End Violence, takes place at Eaglequest – Coyote Creek, 7778 152 St. It is open to men and women. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets ($50 apiece or a table of eight for $350) are available online at www.blackandbluesari.com, by calling 604-866-1385 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org