Singer will Headline Multiple Events in October to Promote Domestic Violence Awareness

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Singer who was once a battered wife now uses her time and talent to bring awareness to the plight of victims of domestic violence.

I would perform in shows with broken ribs or perforated ear drums and no one had any inkling what was going on. That's part of the savageness of domestic abuse because your abuser keeps you in isolation and shame.

Vocalist Marie Barlow Martin will be the featured performer next month for a fundraiser for Focus Ministries, a non-profit organization devoted to offering assistance to women and families affected by domestic violence. The "Behind the Mask" event will be held October 17 in Elmhurst, Illinois. Then on October 28, Martin will appear at the "Reason to Hope: The Faith Community Responds to Family Abuse" sponsored by the State of Illinois' Family Violence Coordinating Councils. In addition to performing at the event, Martin will host a Q&A session regarding her personal experiences as an abused spouse. October is designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Martin, a former musical theater star and now a gospel music recording artist, was herself a victim of domestic violence during her first marriage. "There were many times when I didn't know if I would live or die," says Martin. "I would perform in shows with broken ribs or perforated ear drums and no one had any inkling what was going on. That's part of the savageness of domestic abuse because your abuser keeps you in isolation and shame."

Statistics are startling. On average, a woman in the United States is battered by a partner every 12 to 15 seconds. Up to six million women are believed to be beaten in their homes each year. And at least thirty percent of all homicides of women in America are committed by intimate partners.

Now happily remarried to producer and songwriter Gordy Martin, Marie has an important piece of advice for women who are living in physically abusive relationships. "Talk! Tell someone," says Marie. "There is power in sharing what is happening to you. It doesn't matter who you share it with- a pastor, a counselor, a friend, a family member or even a stranger! When you share your struggles, you become stronger, and you are able to see things in a different way. The power of the abuser is to isolate you so that you will remain weak and under his or her control. The way to counter that is to come out of isolation. God allowed me out of that pit of loneliness and despair and gave me the shelter I so desperately longed for. It's my prayer that women will find the help and hope they need sooner rather than later."

The October 17 event will also feature speakers Leslie Vernick and Moody Radio host Anita Lustrea. Tickets for the event can be obtained at the Focus Ministries website at: http://www.focusministries1.org. For more information on the October 28 event, visit http://www.ifvcc.org.

Marie Barlow Martin's current CD, "Shelter: Worship Through the Ages," has been described by Worship Leader magazine as containing "dramatic and beautifully-understated ballads." Martin has appeared on Hour Of Power TV show, Familynet, and The Drew Marshall Show, among others. For further information on Marie Barlow Martin, visit http://www.MarieBarlow.com.

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