Party for a cause: Black & Bling raises money to curb domestic violence

Published 9:13 am Thursday, October 8, 2015

By Susan Browder

Special to the Enterprise

Black and Bling is a yearly celebration of the life of Sarah Virginia Carr Browder, who died at the hands of her husband three years ago.

Sarah was a vibrant, creative 29-year-old woman who loved people, loved helping those in need, and loved socializing.

Sarah loved parties. So it seems appropriate to memorialize her with a foot-stomping good time that also helps victims of domestic abuse.

The goal of Susan K. Browder and Stephanie Williams Dean is to offer just that sort of opportunity for residents of Forsyth and Davie counties and beyond.

On Oct. 17 people will drive from all over the Triad to Stephanie’s farm in Mocksville to have the time of their lives and to honor Sarah’s memory. Black and Bling 2015 offers entertainment by the popular Triad band Fruit Smoothie Trio, along with Tarot card reader Carolyn Hill, psychic Elly Walker, comedy-magician David Lucas, and others.

Stephanie loves to decorate her home with a Halloween theme, as well as to cook scrumptious desserts to offer to guests. Susan and Stephanie are advocates for victims of domestic abuse and see this as another opportunity to raise awareness and to share information that may help someone to get the help needed for healing.

Their primary goal, however, is to make this the best party possible so that people have a great time and do not view it as a responsibility; so far, every year, they have accomplished this goal.

Domestic abuse is a widespread but silent and lonely phenomenon. One of four American women and one of seven men suffer violence in their intimate partner relationships. Emotional abuse is widespread and is sometimes even more debilitating than physical abuse; nearly half of all American men and women have experienced emotional abuse. P

eople don’t like to talk about domestic abuse. When victims do speak up, they are often not believed, because abusers appear to be normal people just like the rest of us, living right here in our community – often quite charming, successful in their careers, behaving appropriately – except in the privacy of their homes.

Abuse happens in every demographic group. Research indicates that abuse is a cyclical problem that is passed on from generation to generation, creating more abusers and more victims.

Boys who are exposed to domestic violence are three to four times more likely to become abusers, and girls tend to grow into victims.

We have reason to ask, “Even if my family’s relationships are perfectly healthy, how can I assure that my child will not inadvertently select a mate who has inherited this dysfunction?”

Recent research indicates that 30 million people on this planet are victims of Childhood Domestic Violence, a newly coined term meant to categorize those people, children and adults, who grew up in domestic abuse. There are far more of such victims than there are of those who were the direct targets of abuse. Witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse causes neurological changes in a child’s brain, changes that affect him for his entire life, changes that make it much more challenging for that child to reach his full potential in life. Childhood Domestic Violence results in all sorts of problems, such as mental illness, suicide, substance abuse, relationship problems, damaged self-esteem, decreased academic and professional success, and on and on.

But there are ways to remap the neurological pathways, through counseling and treatment. The first step to getting help for children or adults afflicted by CDV is to allow them to tell their stories and to be heard.

The Sarah Browder Memorial Fund was created to support a speakers’ bureau under the auspices of Forsyth County Family Services, the purpose of which is to raise awareness and to educate the public, as well as multiple agencies and service personnel who deal with victims of domestic abuse. Donations and funds raised through the Black and Bling silent auction will go to support the Family Services speakers’ bureau. Donate by writing a check payable to Family Services, with the memo line indicating Sarah Browder Memorial Fund. It can be mailed to Family Services, 1200 S. Broad Street, Winston-Salem, 27101.

Black and Bling 2015 will take place Oct. 17, 6:30-10:30, at Belle Terre Farm, 428 John Crotts Road, Mocksville. For more information go to To RSVP, call the number indicated on the blog, or go to Facebook event page Black and Bling 2015. The event is open to the public; we hope you and your friends will attend.

Information about domestic abuse can be found at

Information about Childhood Domestic Violence can be found at this link:

Susan Browder is

the mother of Sarah Virginia Carr Browder.