Monthly Archives October 2023

The Art of Compassion: Mosaic Masterpieces Awaits You! 

By Marina Sampanes Peed
Executive Director of Mosaic Georgia

Picture this: A quiet evening, you’re cozily settled in, deeply engrossed in that new bestseller or the latest binge-worthy series. Your phone buzzes, then rings. It’s a dear friend, voice quivering, entrusting you with a painful revelation – they or their child has experienced the unthinkable – the brutality of interpersonal violence/abuse.

Most people assume that a resource is available – through hospitals and local police departments. In fact, here and across most of Georgia, private, nonprofit organizations like Mosaic Georgia’s Children’s Advocacy & Sexual Assault Center, provide the direct services and support to victims of abuse and assault. Mosaic Georgia’s hotline 866-900-6019 is here for you.

What is it worth to you to know that help is available, 24/7, if you or your loved one needed it?

Interpersonal violence – be it physical, sexual, psychological – leave traumatic injuries that don’t just fade with time; they linger, hidden behind barriers of shame and silence. While we learn more about the neurobiology of trauma and make progress to lift the blanket of stigma, it’s community-based services like Mosaic Georgia that truly light the path to healing.

But why is this 24/7 support essential?

1. Immediate Support in Crisis: The aftermath of disclosure of violence is often chaotic, clouded with fear and confusion. An available helpline means immediate guidance, ensuring the safety of the victim and pointing them toward the right resources, whether medical, legal, or psychological.

2. Immediate Coordination of Care: Mosaic Georgia mobilizes a response team to provide advocacy supports, medical forensic care, mental health supports, and coordination with law enforcement.

3. Building Resilience: Lingering effects of violence affect one’s personal safety, ability to work or study, sleep, or focus. We assist with mental health and wellness care so people of all ages can develop their personal mental health toolkits that support and strengthen every aspect of their lives. We also provide no-cost legal services to access protection of their personal safety, and ensure their rights are not further harmed by the perpetrator.

4. Empower the Community: Knowing that help is always available strengthens the community as a whole. It empowers friends, neighbors, and family members to guide their loved ones toward the assistance they need.

How Can I Help?

People tell me they are glad that someone is doing this work, even though they don’t think they could do it. I feel the same way about surgeons and water reclamation experts. Here is a great way to support this mission and add to your art collection.

Our 4th annual “Mosaic Masterpieces”—an Art Auction & Happy Hour, not just for the art enthusiast but for every heart that beats for a compassionate community.

This event isn’t just an art auction. It’s a gathering that stitches together resilience, courage, and community spirit. With professional fine art, pieces by community leaders, students, and survivors, it’s a two-hour soulful experience.

By contributing – whether it’s through sponsorship, attendance, or art acquisition – you’re not just adding to your collection. You’re championing a cause, ensuring that every cry for help echoes with the comforting reply: “We’re here for you.”

Take a look at sponsorship opportunities, download a social media toolkit, contribute art, peruse our photo gallery from past events, or volunteer:

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True Love After Trauma – Safety Tips for DV Survivors Seeking Healthy Relationships 

Ashia Headshot

By Ashia Gallo
Wholeness Collective Coordinator at Mosaic Georgia

Domestic violence (DV) is a soul-wrenching issue that affects millions of people worldwide, leaving lasting scars on both an individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing. While escaping an abusive relationship is a necessary and courageous step towards safety (click here for local resources from the Gwinnett County Family Violence Task Force), survivors often encounter significant challenges when trying to form new, healthy relationships later on.

Recovery is a complex journey that survivors of DV face in their pursuit of the loving and secure connections they deserve. Finding love after experiencing domestic violence can be challenging, but there are several important steps and solutions to consider before taking that next step:


Prioritize your own healing and wellbeing first. Seek trauma therapy or counseling to address any emotional scars and trauma from the abusive relationship. Some of these scars may be well hidden, even to yourself. Healing takes time, and it’s essential to be in a healthy emotional state before pursuing a new relationship.

Support System

Building a strong support system with friends and family who can provide emotional support and understanding during your healing process is essential. This can understandably be a difficult step. One of the primary challenges for survivors of DV is the profound erosion of trust – trust of self and others. It’s because of this that having a solid support network is crucial for your recovery. Identify your people and confide in them.

Therapy or Support Groups

Consider joining support groups or attending therapy sessions specifically designed for survivors of DV. These environments can help you connect with others who have had similar experiences and provide valuable guidance. Mosaic Georgia offers Finding Hope Support Groups for women 18+ who are survivors of sexual abuse specifically. If this fits into your DV experience, you’re always welcome to join us.

Educate Yourself

Learn about healthy relationships, boundaries, and red flags for potential abuse. Knowledge is power, and that sense of empowerment can help you make better relationship choices in the future.

Take Your Time

There is no rush to enter a new relationship. Sometimes the potential comfort of a new emotional connection can feel like an easy fix – but moving on too quickly after a traumatic DV experience will likely not turn out the best for you long term. You don’t want to risk accumulating more trauma during your healing journey. Take as much time as you need to mend and build your confidence before seeking love again.

Set Boundaries

Clearly define your personal boundaries in a new relationship and communicate them openly with your partner. No hanging out in intimate spaces for six months? No kissing or physical affection until you initiate? Your dating rules are up to you, and anyone who truly cares for you will happily follow them to ensure your comfort. Boundaries help establish a healthy and respectful dynamic.

Trust Your Instincts

Listen to your gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right in a new relationship, don’t ignore it. Rely on your instincts and take action if necessary. You’ve walked away once, and you can always do it again.

Online Dating Safety

If you choose to explore online dating, be cautious. Share personal information sparingly, meet in public places initially, and inform a trusted friend or family member about your plans to meet up. Also, pace getting to know the real identity and intentions of this stranger, and not just what they are presenting to you.

Legal Protection

Sometimes moving on can incite controlling ghosts of your past. If necessary, consult with legal professionals to explore options for restraining orders or legal protections against your abuser.

Finding love after domestic violence is possible, but it should be secondary to your journey of self-care, healing, and personal growth. Prioritizing your well-being and safety is paramount throughout this process.

It’s also very hopeful to know that you will smile again, date again, and love again. Our most beautiful connections sometimes exist on the other side of darkness. Wishing you so much luck in the quest for yours!

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When Love Hurts: A Look at the Realities of Intimate Partner Violence

Kendall Circle Headshot

By Kendall Wolz
Mental Health and Wellness Manager at Mosaic Georgia

What is the difference between intimate partner violence and domestic violence?

The term intimate partner violence more broadly encompasses violence within relationships, whereas domestic violence typically applies to individuals living within the same household.

In the 1970s and 1980s, women’s rights groups elevated the voices and raised awareness of crimes committed against wives by their husbands. In response to the campaigns, domestic violence shelters opened for women seeking refuge from their abusive husbands. Largely, people viewed domestic violence as a gendered issue- one where married women were the victims.

Because violence in relationships is not limited to heterosexual, married couples, the term intimate partner violence was introduced. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines intimate partner violence as “behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors” and the definition covers violence by both current and former spouses and partners.1

Intimate partner violence and domestic violence apply to adult victims, while the term “teen dating violence” recognizes that minors and young adults also experience abusive patterns in relationships.

But, he doesn’t hit me.”  

Intimate partner violence includes but is not limited to acts of physical violence. The Power and Control Wheel visually depicts the various ways it shows up in relationships.2 The outer wheel recognizes physical and/or sexual violence as a common occurrence. But the spokes of the wheel describe intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, denying/minimizing/blaming, using the children, using privilege, economic abuse, and coercion/threats.

Abusers use various methods to exhibit power and maintain control in the relationship. Without intervention, the cycle outlined in the wheel perpetuates itself.

What is the prevalence of intimate partner violence?

Intimate partner violence is more common than people realize and accounts for 15% of all violent crime. And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 25-50% of people in relationships experience at least one form of relationship violence.

  • About 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • About 1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced contact sexual violence by an intimate partner.
  • 14% of women and 5% of men report having been stalked by an intimate partner.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence over a victim’s lifetime is estimated at $103,767 for women.

Data from the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that among U.S. high school students, 1 in 12 experienced physical dating violence and 1 in 12 experienced sexual dating violence within the previous year. Female students and those who identified as LGBTQ or were unsure of their gender identity experienced higher rates of dating violence.3

Ripple Effects

Lives of victims are affected in numerous and damaging ways.

Emotional pain is at the forefront. This can manifest as distress, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, anxiety, panic attacks, sadness, shame, guilt, internal tension, stress, anger or despair. Many victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. In addition to physical injuries, emotional stress contributes to deteriorating health such as sleep and eating disorders, chronic pain, digestive issues, and weakened immune systems.

Humans are social beings, and their interactions fulfill a wide range of physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs.

Intimate partner violence causes a pattern interrupt.

Routine, healthy dynamics and interactions shift. A support network is crucial yet those living with intimate partner violence often lose the trust and esteem of loved ones which can cause isolation. Power imbalances also negatively affect relationships with children.

The broader societal implications of partner violence are extensive. For the victim, requiring sick leave and trouble focusing can lead to job loss. On the grander scale, there are public health costs such as strain on healthcare, social services, and the public safety and legal systems. Employers are affected through insurance costs and reduced employee productivity.

Effects on Young Bodies and Minds

Furthermore, intimate partner violence leaves lasting imprints on children who witness the abuse, and it places them at higher risk of being victimized also.

As many as 1 in 5 children witness intimate partner violence in their lifetime.4 One of the most concerning realities of the impact of intimate partner violence on children is that approximately 1 in 5 homicides of children aged 2-14 are related to intimate partner violence. Children growing up in homes where abuse and violence are normalized are more likely to use violence as a means of conflict resolution than their peers not exposed. Witnessing intimate partner violence as a child is an adverse childhood experience (ACE). Higher ACE scores are associated with a multitude of negative long-term outcomes including early death, chronic physical health issues, mental health challenges, and relationship struggles.

Shining a light on the realities of violence helps to bring about awareness. Intimate partner violence is all around us and needs to be exposed rather than shrouded in secrecy and kept behind closed doors. Talking about it, sharing (the uncomfortable) information, and modeling healthy behavior can help initiate a shift in the societal norms and attitudes that perpetuate violence in intimate relationships.

If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, there is help available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788.

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