Breaking Barriers

Part 1: The Barriers 
TUESDAY, 10/5/2021
10 AM

Part 2: The Solutions
TUESDAY, 10/19/2021
10 AM

This year's virtual Town Hall discussion brings together stakeholders in the community for a direct, solution-based conversation about breaking significant barriers facing Lowcountry domestic violence victims. The panel-led event will feature leaders across multiple segments of the victim service population, engaging with the community in a collaborative, cross-functional discussion.

*Both panels will now be held virtually. 


This year, our Town Hall event is presented as a two-part virtual conversation. 

In Part I, on October 5th, our panelists will be highlighting barriers faced by domestic violence victims and why coming forward to seek help during and after abuse can be so difficult.

In Part II, on October 19th, we will reconvene for an engaging panel discussion around solutions and practices that support victims of intimate partner violence.

At My Sister's House, we strive to be innovative and transformative. As part of our annual campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence with a focus on breaking barriers to survival, we look forward to these engaging and victim-centered conversations with you. 

We want to hear from you! If you have experiences to share, please fill out our survey before the event: 2021 Breaking Barriers Survey


Dr. Christine Hahn, MUSC

Dr. Christine Tirabassi Hahn conducts research focused on the reduction of substance use and traumatic stress following recent exposure to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Her translational program of research utilizes novel, brief, technology-based interventions integrated in primary care and community-based agencies (e.g., rape crisis centers) to increase access to services. Dr. Hahn also investigates the role of emotional and behavioral regulation on traumatic stress, sexual risk taking, and substance use among people who have experienced sexual assault. Finally, her interests include the intersection of traumatic stress and women's reproductive health. Dr. Hahn's early career development at MUSC has been supported through NIH funding (e.g., NIAAA, NIDA, NIMH). After completing a NIMH T32 postdoctoral fellowship at MUSC, Dr. Hahn was a career enhancement scholar through MUSC's Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) on stress-related sex and gender differences. Dr. Hahn was recently awarded a Career Development Award from NIAAA to test an early intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder following sexual assault. Dr. Hahn is the director of the sexual assault follow-up services at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. She provides clinical supervision and research mentorship to psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows.

Deputy Monique Martinez, Charleston County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Monique Martinez has been serving Charleston County Sheriff’s Office in the state of South Carolina for nearly five years. She was first inspired to work in law enforcement when she was a young child witnessing domestic violence and many other crimes in her hometown of San Francisco, California. She wanted to make a difference in the world. Her biggest inspiration were her parents who encouraged her to be a protector of the people, rather than protecting herself from the people. A graduate of Capuchino High School in San Bruno. Deputy Martinez is a native to California. After graduating high school at the age of 17, she joined the United States Air Force in 1995. Deputy Martinez was a member of the Security Forces Squadron. After 8 years in the military, Deputy Martinez honorable separated from the Air Force as a Staff Sergeant. In 2011, Deputy Martinez obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Social Work. Deputy Martinez worked for Juvenile Probation and as an Investigator for Department of Child Safety in the state of Arizona. In 2016, Deputy Martinez moved to South Carolina where she was hired with Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Martinez worked as a patrol deputy and at the Courthouse before being transferred to the Bureau of Community Engagement Unit. Deputy Martinez took the position to make a difference in the community. Her goals are to build trust and bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement. Deputy Martinez is currently in graduate school pursuing her master’s degree in Advanced Clinical Social Work.

Dr. DaNine J. Fleming, MUSC

Dr. DaNine J. Fleming is the Associate Chief Officer for Inclusive Excellence at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is also an associate professor and unconscious bias faculty scholar. She is one of the founding Advisory Council Members of Taking Back OUR Village that is housed in Lincolnville. As a community coalition builder Dr. Fleming has worked continuously to bring about systemic change, unity amongst communities and law enforcement as well as work with those impacted by senseless violence. She is a proud life member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and serves as the Business Manager for the McNeil Foundation for the Awareness of Domestic Violence and Abuse. She is not new to this and considers it a privilege to the community and lives by the following motto “I have pitched my tent in the land of hope.” Acts 2:26

Rev. DeMett E. Jenkins, Faith Based Communities at the African American Muesuem

Rev. DeMett E. Jenkins was born in Chateauroux, France to Ret. Major Abraham B. Jenkins and Georgetta Jenkins and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She holds a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina and a Master’s of Divinity degree in 2007 from Virginia Union University Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology in Richmond, Virginia with a focus on Pastoral Care and Counseling. For 12 years, Rev. Jenkins worked as a social worker for United Family Services’ Shelter for Battered Women as a Counselor, Volunteer Coordinator, Court Advocate and Program Coordinator. Rev. Jenkins developed an outreach program within the Charlotte public housing community, coordinated services with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department with surviving family members of murdered victims and was a response advocate at a local hospital for sexual assault and domestic violence victims. After graduating from seminary, she worked as an Emergency Room and Staff Support Chaplain and Contextual Education Supervisor with first year seminary students and Adjunct Professor at Emory University Candler School of Theology where she taught Pastoral Care and Domestic Violence courses. Demett is trained in emergency preparedness, disaster relief, CISM crisis management, death, dying, grief and bereavement and certified as a trainer for Education in Palliative and End of Life Care for Emergency Medicine. She volunteers her time with Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy organization that responds to deaths, homicides and other crisis situations with both Charleston and North Charleston Police Departments. Demett has a love for outreach development and community involvement and is currently the Director of Education and Engagement for Faith-Based Communities at the International African American Museum. She is the granddaughter of the late Esau Jenkins, a civil rights activist from Johns Island, SC who was a leader, businessman, and community organizer. He was the founder and moving spirit of many organizations and institutions which helped improve the political, educational, housing, health and economic conditions of the people on the islands and Charleston at large. Jenkins’ bus with whom he transported many people and helped them to learn how to read the constitution so that they would have the opportunity to vote, is now in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Demett returned home to Charleston in 2016 after 24 years and is very excited to be continuing the legacy of her grandparents Janie and Esau Jenkins in serving the community.

Sara Barber, SCCADVASA

Sara Barber, MA, is the Executive Director of SCCADVASA. Prior to joining SCCADVASA, she was the Executive Director of a batterer intervention program that offered services in seventeen South Carolina counties and has thirteen years of experience in this field. She has published research on the effects of increased supervision on offender completion outcomes. Current research topics include gender differences in client evaluation tools and the parenting attitudes of participants in a batterer intervention program. She has a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina. Kat Wehunt, Executive Director of The Formation Project The Formation Project is a survivor-led non-profit organization in Charleston, SC. We work to fight human trafficking. The numbers for commercial exploitation and human trafficking are unsettling – it happens more than you would ever think. The Formation Project was created out of Kat Wehunt, Founder, experiencing first hand familial sex trafficking. Kat was sold by a relative from the ages of 14-17, when she was able to become free from trafficking. Having been victim to a system that seems insurmountable to fight against, she wanted to turn her pain into empowerment by using her experience to help other survivors break the statistics and begin building their legacies.

Michael Leach, DSS State Director

Michael Leach is the State Director for the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Leach served with the Department of Children’s Services for more than 10 years, most recently as the Deputy Commissioner of Child Programs. There, he also served as Executive Director of the Office of Continuous Quality Improvement; Director of Performance and Quality Improvement; Director of Independent Living and Director of System Integrations. Mr. Leach has done extensive public speaking related to his experience with the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool, Extension of Foster Care and helped the child welfare agency maintain accreditation through the Council on Accreditation. Mr. Leach was also a therapist at the Vanderbilt Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic in Tennessee and has experience in facilitating crisis response services at a community mental health center and case management in congregate care.

Dr. Alyssa Rheingold, MUSC

Dr. Rheingold is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor at the National Crime Victim's Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is the Director of Clinical Operations at the NCVC and Associate Director of the Sleep and Anxiety Program. She completed her undergraduate coursework in 1996 at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Cum Laude and with Honors in Psychology. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from MCP Hahnemann University (currently known as Drexel University). Dr. Rheingold completed a Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology at the Charleston Consortium Psychology Internship Program and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the NCVC, Medical University of South Carolina. Her clinical expertise includes the treatment of anxiety disorders and trauma related mental health issues. Her main research interests include child sexual abuse prevention, loss by homicide, traumatic grief, etiological factors and treatment outcome research of trauma related psychopathology.


Part 2: Discussing Solutions, will be moderated by Jennifer Berry Hawes. Jennifer is a projects reporter on The Post and Courier focusing on investigative narratives. She previously worked with three other reporters on "Till Death Do Us Part," a series about domestic violence that won the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.








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