Center for Women and Families recognizes contributions

May 25—NEW ALBANY — Justice delayed is not justice denied.

That was a theme from Thursday's Breakfast of Brilliance 2023 honoring contributions to the mission of the Southern Indiana Center for Women and Families.

The message was delivered by therapist Laquisha Moore, who provides counseling at The Center's Jeffersonville location. Moore is a survivor of sexual assault and shared her story during the event and fundraiser at Mansion 1886 in New Albany.

"One of my earliest memories was living in The Center for Women and Families with my mother and she was enduring a lot of domestic violence so I grew up seeing lot of domestic violence," Moore said.

Moore started practicing karate when she was around 10 or 11, and the instructors ended up being perpetrators of her abuse.

"I ended up with people who were predators. It really became a case of me being abducted in plain sight, they got emergency custody of me," she said. "...from 12 to 15 I was sexually abused by a man and a woman on a regular basis."

At 15, she ran away and was taken in by a pastor's family.

She filed a police report about the abuse two years later. A few years after that report was filed, her perpetrators were arrested and eventually spent time behind bars for sex crimes.

"I think I developed some passion for victims, for survivors of sexual assault, I feel like I had no place to talk about that," Moore said.

That's why Moore is passionate about helping people who use The Center's services transition from victims to survivors.

The Center now operates a mobile advocacy model after it closed its Southern Indiana shelter a few years ago.

Director Zenebia Law said more than 600 families used the walk-in services at the location at 1301 Akers Avenue in Jeffersonville.

She said the Center has supported more than 200 families in the past year, which is a 13% increase over the year before.

The Southern Indiana location also worked with more than 70 groups providing training last year, including Indiana University Southeast.

Law said other organizations in the state are taking note.

"In fact across the state of Indiana there's been other organizations that have transitioned into this mobile advocacy model. They've added it to their services, so we've been a big help in supporting those organizations in that transition as well," Law said.

The City of Charlestown was a presenting sponsor for the event.

"We declared ourselves a zero-tolerance-for-domestic-violence city a couple of years ago," said Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges.

Charlestown has a licensed clinical social worker on its staff thanks to a grant.

Hodges said social worker Courtney Rodewig can help seven families at a time and has helped 50 families over the past few years.

"We think the services at The Center are fantastic, the mobile response team has been very effective for us," Hodges said. "So many people out in the rural communities where we live have a hard time getting into a location and they're not going to drive to Louisville so the mobile response team has been wonderful."

The breakfast also recognized the work of Jeffersonville resident Debbie Cover who was Southern Indiana volunteer of the year.