Cooking for Awareness event features Dotson, Monroe

October 13, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

If they were to put it in kitchen terms, Danville Police Capt. James Monroe and Boyle District Court Judge Jeff Dotson would say that domestic violence is a tough egg to crack.

The reason they would put this issue in those terms is they plan to put their cooking skills to work Thursday at the second annual Cooking for Awareness event. The free lunch event is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 117 W. Main St.

The event, hosted by Advocates Against Domestic Violence, is scheduled this month because October is domestic violence awareness month. This year's theme is "When Violence Scores at Home," and special guest will be former National Football League player Mark Logan of Lexington.

The Boot Scooters, senior citizens dance group, will entertain. Laurent Houekpon and Kittie Thomas, who work with the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, are rounding up lots of community leaders to cook.


Dotson, who plans to make Chicken Cacciatore, says he is glad that he was able to arrange his schedule so he can participate.

"This event is a great event to promote public awareness of domestic violence. The average person who is not associated with the judicial system is unaware of the level of domestic violence in the commonwealth. Not only in the commonwealth, but in this county, this neighborhood and possibly in their own home."

Dotson says he expects the event to draw a variety of people.

"What better way to get the community involved than to offer food?" he says. "I hope promoting community awareness will follow. Once the community identifies the problem, steps can be taken to alleviate the problem," says Dotson, who says most of his phone calls in the wee hours are related to domestic violence.

Monroe, who plans to use his grilling skills to provide hamburgers at the event, says he enjoyed participating last year.

"I saw people last year who had broken free of their abusive relationship and channeled their energy into helping the abuse center."

Monroe, who used to deal with the issue as an officer, says the cycle is hard to break.

"If you see a dog that's been beaten a lot, it's going to cower but it always goes back to the master. We hope that eventually, if you give them enough avenues, they will reach a breaking point and take one."

Some of the avenues police officers can offer is to advise the victims of their rights and put them in touch with a shelter. If an injury has occurred, officers do make an arrest.

"Sometimes, we take them both to jail."

Officers can fall into the trap of becoming hardened to the situation.

"He might think, 'It's the fifth time I've come out here this month. He's beat you every time.'"

There's no predicting when domestic violence will occur, but Monroe says it does escalate after sporting events.

"The testosterone is up. There's drinking."

Despite the violence, a woman may hesitate to take preventative measures because her husband's job is paying the bills or she doesn't want her children's father removed from the home, Monroe says.

As far as putting their culinary skills on display, Monroe says he doesn't get a chance to practice much at home. Hectic schedules mean that he, his wife and their toddler daughter eat out a lot.

Dotson says his mother taught him to cook.

"As an only child, not only did I grow up fishing and hunting, but cooking and cleaning as well."

As a hunter, he has lots of recipes for preparing wild game. The recipe he plans to cook at the domestic violence awareness event comes from an Italian recipe he got from his mother.

"I like Italian food and I like cooking Italian food, but mostly I like Southern fried food."

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