(Photo: NPR.com)
DC sniper John A. Muhammad, along with his then-wife Mildred and their children (Screencap: Crimewatch Daily)

Special to the TSD Newsroom

Domestic abuse survivor Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of D.C. sniper John A. Muhammad, will be the keynote speaker October 28 at “Bridging Troubled Waters,” a free community forum aimed at ending domestic violence, resolving conflicts peacefully and building healthy relationships.

Sponsored by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the Memphis Crisis Center and the Family Safety Center, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the UTHSC Student Alumni Center, 800 Madison Avenue. It is being held in observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Breakout sessions, including one Mildred Muhammad will facilitate, will offer participants advice, support and resources. Topics include emotional intelligence with a focus on why victims stay, the forgotten victim and the impact of domestic violence on the family, and empowering victims through the church.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person, according to the Family Safety Center, which aids victims of family violence. More than 50 percent of all local violent crime is domestic crime, the center reports.

One in 15 children has exposure to intimate partner violence each year. Without intervention, one-third of these children will grow up to become abusers, and another one-third will grow up to become victims.

The Family Safety Center also reports that the rate of violence between adults in the home is higher in Shelby County (22 percent) than in Tennessee (19 percent) and nationwide (16 percent). In 2016, there were 32 domestic violence-related homicides in Memphis and Shelby County.

Mildred Muhammad knows the toll domestic violence takes on all members of a family. Her ex-husband went on a three-week shooting rampage in Washington, D.C., in 2002. After his conviction and execution, she learned from police that she was the primary target of his rage, and his end goal had been to find her and kill her, too

A speaker and author, she is the founder of After The Trauma, Inc., through which she strives to enlighten others to the fact that you don’t have to have physical scars to be a victim of domestic violence. Her memoir, “Scared Silent: When the One You Love Becomes the One you Fear,” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009.

Bridging Trouble Waters is open to the public. A light breakfast and lunch will be served. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited. Registration is available at uthsc.edu/special-events/ or by calling 901.448.2704. Doors open at 8 a.m. The program begins at 9 a.m.

On October 27, Mildred Muhammad will meet with a group of area young people to discuss issues related to exposure to violence and trauma. The lunch and dialogue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is in conjunction with UTHSC’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth.

A free screening of the HBO documentary “Private Violence,” is set for 7 p.m., October 16, at Malco Studio on the Square (donated by Malco). The film focuses on domestic violence as described by two survivors. Kit Gruelle, a survivor and advocate featured in the show, will be present for a question and answer session. Seating is limited. To reserve a ticket, go to https://uthsc.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ctOH9th2M5t5TzT

(For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.)