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Clemens Fine Arts Center Exposure Series Shines Light on Domestic Abuse

University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security
October is Domestic Abuse and Violence Awareness month.

An average of 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. During this year's Domestic Abuse Awareness month, the Clemens Fine Arts Center in Paducah, KY is hosting a new dramatic play detailing the lives and stories of victims of interpersonal violence. Brenda J-Yasd, writer of the play, visits Sounds Good to discuss the upcoming performance.

Since 1987, October has been recognized as Domestic Abuse Awareness month. This October, the Clemens Fine Arts Center of WKCTC in Paducah will be presenting Walking on Cotton, a dramatic play by Brenda J-Yasd. This performance is a part of the Clemens Fine Arts Center Exposure Series, which aims to enable audiences and artists to explore ideas about the world with an interdisciplinary and mission-based approach. 

Walking on Cotton tells the story of women and children living with domestic violence, a silent epidemic in our society and community. The short play includes personal stories and incidents of abuse and the affect that the abuse has had on the victims even after they are considered survivors. Walking on Cotton will also give the audience an opportunity to see just some of the affects that domestic violence has on children. This art form was chosen, along with song and movement, to give voice to the women and children that are unable or too afraid to speak. Although the play is not all inclusive, domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, class, or socioeconomic group. 

The performance will be done in an intimate setting -- the audience will be on stage with four actors who each play two seperate roles. The eight characters tell stories of what it's like to witness and experience violence and psychological and emotional abuse within intimate relationships and family. Brenda J-Yasd not only hopes to use this production to share the experiences of women and men who might be too ashamed or too afraid to speak out and seek help; she also hopes to extend a supportive and understanding hand to victims of domestic abuse. 

"I want people to know that there are shelters out there that you can go to for safety," J-Yasd explains, "there is a hotline you can call, and just talk to them. You don't have to keep it all inside, because a lot of times victims are isolated. I'm hoping they'll know that there is somewhere [they] can go and be supported and not blamed or shamed for what is happening to [them] and where [they are] in life." 

Walking on Cotton will be presented at the Clemens Fine Arts Center Monday evening at 7:30. The show is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Clemens' website or call the box office at 270-534-3213. To contact Brenda J-Yasd and her domestic violence awareness group, send an e-mail to If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse of any kind, visit the Domestic Abuse Hotline's website or call 1-800-799-7233. 

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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