Forbidden Tears & Support for Victims of Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

JEI is proud to share our partnership with the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project (AMUS) in conjunction with Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies (WSU CUS) and the City of Detroit.  

Through this initiative, we are able to help promote safety in the East Jefferson corridor and its neighborhoods and support efforts that encourage engagement and communication.  We also offer assistance to new and established neighborhood organizations.  Additionally, the AMUS project works to foster new learning skills in our youth and offer programs designed to decrease violence – which includes domestic and intimate partner violence (IPV).   Domestic violence is the highest incident of crime in East Jefferson neighborhoods. 

In an effort to help victims of these crimes and drive down the number of incidences, JEI supports the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, in conjunction with WSU CUS. Through this program we are able to provide funding for advocates to help victims by assisting with safety planning, petitions for Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), navigating legal processes, connecting with resources such as shelter and other assistance. Advocates are located within the Detroit Police Department 5thand 7thpolice precincts.  No appointment is needed; walk-ins are accepted. 

Sadly, children are often the hidden or silent victims of IPV; some are directly injured while others are frightened witnesses. Children exposed to this type of violence are more likely to have also experienced emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and community violence. In an effort to address such traumas and to promote healing, a group of students from the Detroit Collegiate High School joined to open dialogue about the affects of domestic violence on youth. Under the guidance of their teacher, Ms. Sarrita Darby, these students wrote and published an anthology of poems and stories entitled “Forbidden Tears”. The book was written with the goal of addressing the affects of IPV on children and to unleash voices that have heretofore been silenced.

In her well written and moving forward, Darby made a strong case for recognizing the effects of trauma on youth and academic performance. “Children who experience trauma often have trouble in the classroom because [it] can manifest itself as behavior issues, and my specific students seem to wake up to trauma like it’s breakfast,” she opined.  As one contributor, Alex Karev wrote, “Doesn’t matter how tough we are, trauma always leaves a scar. Maybe we have to get a little messed up, before we can step up.” The underlying theme in the book is that trauma is invisible and its victims often suffer in silence, and victims often suffer in silence; their pain never fully addressed. 

There is hope. In addition to support and resources offered by the AMUS Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, the St. John Ascension Open Arms program provides free trauma and grief counseling to youth and their families, particularly survivors of violence. For additional information, contact Open Arms at 313-369-5780.   

To secure a copy of Forbidden Tears, contact the Detroit Collegiate High School at 313-977-9178 or visit for more information. 

 Contributor: Krystal Fields, JEI Clean and Safe Director