Event to raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual abuse

Marlvis "Butch" Kennedy

The public is invited to the inaugural Speak Out Campaign, an event that aims to raise awareness about South Carolina's high rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The event, which includes speakers and live music, will be 5-9:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Charleston Southern University's Lightsey Chapel Auditorium in North Charleston.

The keynote speaker will be community activist Marlvis "Butch" Kennedy, director of Project Unity USA, a nonprofit that works to reduce crime.

Kennedy also is founder of Real MAD (Real Men against Domestic Violence/abuse), a nonprofit that mentors and educates men and children about domestic violence in South Carolina, which has the nation's highest rate of men killing women. The group's motto is "REAL Men don't hit women."

"This will give me the opportunity to empower our youth by educating them on what domestic violence is and how we as men need to stand up and speak out about it," Kennedy says.

Doors open at 5 p.m., and the pre-show starts at 5:30 p.m. The main event starts at 6 p.m.

Collide Promotions will present the event, hosted by comedian Antwayne Mikell. It also will feature live music from gospel and hip-hop artist Uncle Reese and contemporary Christian artist, Choyce (Christopher Joyce).

Antwan Gadsden of Collide Promotions hopes to generate an outcry and raise awareness, especially among younger generations, about domestic and teen dating violence.

"We are organizing this event because of the high statistics of crime and the outcry for change in the tri-county. South Carolina ranks No. 1 when it relates to men killing women due to domestic violence," Gadsden says.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and Charleston Southern University students, $20 for premium and $30 for VIP tickets.

For more, call 321-3956 or email Collidepromo@gmail.com.

Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563 or follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes.