Drug issues, domestic violence and sexual abuse shouldn’t be taboo subjects.
That’s the feeling of Nikki Rosbottom, who has speakers lined up to discuss those topics during an upcoming banquet dinner to benefit the work of her organization, The Tabitha Brock Foundation Inc.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“I think that there is finally starting to get more awareness out about addiction and domestic and sexual violence, but I think that there is still just not enough understanding about it,” Rosbottom said. “I think whenever people can hear other people’s personal stories and what they went through, it connects with them.”
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The second Taking Back Jackson County from Drugs and Violence event is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15 at Rails Craft Brew & Eatery, 114 St. Louis Ave., Seymour.
Tickets are $35, which includes a banquet dinner with an appetizer, an entree, two sides and a dessert; five speakers; and live music by Andrew Pittman. Tuesday is the deadline to purchase tickets at Rails or on the foundation’s website.
The speakers will be Chad Malone, a motivational speaker and author; Kyle McIntosh, a public speaker on addiction and owner of Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor; Charlotte Moss with Turning Point Domestic Violence Services; Jackie Crane, a public health nurse who will talk about the experiences she has seen with addiction; and Rosbottom, who will talk about the foundation, her sister’s story, her own personal story and healing from trauma.
Brock, Rosbottom’s younger sister, was 23 when she was killed May 10, 2012, by her on-and-off boyfriend of 10 years, Gerald Combs.
He killed Brock in front of her son and later placed her body in a car, drove to County Road 1075E and Enos Road north of Seymour, got out of the car and set it on fire. Before that incident, he had been abusing Brock.
Soon after Combs was sentenced to prison in December of that year, Brock’s family started an organization in her memory to spread awareness of abuse and to support victims of violence. It started out as Justice for Tabitha but since 2014 has been known as The Tabitha Brock Foundation.
“We’re going to be talking about her story and what we went through and the person that ended up killing her only got 12 years in jail for it,” Rosbottom said. “We’ll be talking a lot about her story and what she went through during her life, and then how she lost her life, but then also the aftermath, like what my family has gone through, especially her son.”
Rosbottom said it’s still hard to deal with her sister’s death.
“It has been five years since Tabitha died, and it still takes me by surprise. It really does,” she said. “People always will say that it gets easier over time, and it really doesn’t. The only thing that gets easier is you learn better coping mechanisms to deal with it.”
She hopes that after people attend the banquet dinner, they will want to talk to each other about drug issues, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
“I’m a survivor of sexual abuse from childhood, and I didn’t talk to anybody in my family about it until I was 20,” she said. “It’s one of those things that I’ve noticed whenever people hear other people’s stories, they are more likely to come forward and speak about what they went through, and that’s a very healing experience for them. What I hope is to generate conversation around these subjects that are often taboo.”
The foundation has a women’s support group that meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at a private location.
“Just from seeing the women that have been in our support group and what they’ve gone through and how they’ve healed from just talking to one another, I think that sharing personal stories is one of the most impactful ways to get people to understand what’s happening in our community and want to actually do something about it,” Rosbottom said.
She also hopes to have other organizations on hand at the Oct. 15 event so a variety of information is available.
“It’s really just about helping the community,” she said. “Whoever you help, it’s going to help all of us.”
Ticket sales will help cover event expenses. Rosbottom said if any money is left over, the foundation hopes to put it toward starting a Packs of Love program, which would provide a backpack filled with a stuffed animal, a blanket, toiletries and a book to children who are victims of sexual abuse or trauma or have a parent in jail.
The foundation plans to seek donations of items and money from the community.
“There are so many kids that are getting taken out of their homes right now because of addiction,” Rosbottom said. “I think it’s important for kids who have gone through something to have a book that they can connect to.”
The first banquet dinner in 2015 drew around 40 people, and Rosbottom said the hope is to make it an annual event and expand it.
“Everybody had a really great reception from it. Everybody seemed to really react to what the speakers were saying, and it really impacted them deeply, so we’re hoping for the same thing this year,” she said.
“We had so many people that asked about us doing it again that we wanted to try having it again this year,” she said. “I think next year, we’re going to try to make it more instead of Taking Back Jackson County, Taking Back Indiana to try to include more counties involved in it.”
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What: Taking Back Jackson County from Drugs and Violence, including five speakers, food and live music
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15
Where: Rails Craft Brew & Eatery, 114 St. Louis Ave., Seymour
Who: Speakers will be Chad Malone, a motivational speaker and author; Kyle McIntosh, a public speaker on addiction and owner of Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor; Charlotte Moss with Turning Point Domestic Violence Services; Jackie Crane, a public health nurse who will talk about the experiences she has seen with addiction; and Nikki Rosbottom, who will talk about The Tabitha Brock Foundation Inc., her sister’s story, her own personal story and healing from trauma
Tickets: Online at thetabithabrockfoundation.com or stop by Rails by Tuesday
Proceeds: The Tabitha Brock Foundation Inc.