Survivors take center stage at ACCESS' 12th Annual Domestic Violence Program Dinner

Local 4's Priya Mann hosting event

ACCESS, the nation's largest Arab American community nonprofit, will host its 12th Annual Domestic Violence Program Dinner, themed "Turning Struggle into Strength," at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center in

Dearborn on Thursday, October 24 at 5 p.m.  

The program will highlight the impact of Domestic and Sexual abuse, with survivors of both taking center stage to share their empowering stories in front of the Arab American community and reflect on the support provided to them by organizations like ACCESS. 

The event will be emceed by Priya Mann, reporter and anchor on WDIV, Local 4. 

ACCESS' Community, Health & Research Center Director (CHRC) Mona Makki, says the organization has made it a priority to incorporate Sexual Abuse into its programming after receiving an uptick of reported cases in the last three years.  

"At ACCESS, our work doesn't stop in our offices," says Mona Makki. "We believe in taking our commitment to wherever people need us. This means that we are therapists in schools, lawyers in courtrooms, advocates at the police department, health care professionals in communities and also employment specialists, helping survivors rebuild their independence. Wherever we are needed, we work hard to ensure that we are there."

New York Times best selling author Etaf Rum will be the keynote of the event and will receive the Purple Rose Award. Rum's debut novel, the critically acclaimed "A Woman Is No Man," tells the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women and the roles and expectations placed on them by their families and community. Rum will share her difficult journey of how she survived an arranged marriage at the age of 19 and went on to pursue an education and career while raising her two children. 

The event will also highlight advocates who have selflessly committed their time and resources to helping women and families during difficult situations. Receiving the Community Champion Award during the ceremony will be Hajj Haider Koussan, owner of Greenland Markets.

Koussan has been a longtime ally of ACCESS' Domestic Violence Program, offering his support to survivors by providing them with employment and growth opportunities, as well as donating groceries and supplies to families in their time of need. 

For the past 12 years, ACCESS and its supporters have come together through the Domestic Violence Program Annual Dinner to raise awareness about domestic violence as well as funds to support the many services that ACCESS provides to survivors of abuse. ACCESS offers vital comprehensive medical, psychosocial, economic and legal support to survivors of domestic abuse and their families, and has served hundreds of clients in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties in the past year.

On average, nearly 20 people in the U.S. are physically abused by an intimate partner, per minute. In the span of a year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. In a single day, ACCESS, along with other Michigan domestic violence support programs provide services to approximately 3,000 survivors.