A ‘singer of songs’ speaks to victims of domestic abuse

A ‘singer of songs’ speaks to victims of domestic abuse

Wambui Bahati
Wambui Bahati

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, the program I Am Domestic Violence is for you. But, say organizers, even if you aren’t and don’t know anyone who is, come anyway; that way, those individuals who most need to learn about domestic abuse and to find support can do so under cover of being among sensitive audience members.

Motivational speaker, author, and entertainer Wambui Bahati will present I Am Domestic Violence on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 21, at Princeton University. Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County, the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women, are among the sponsors of the event.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, but the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied, especially when it is emotional or psychological rather than physical, according to Debra Levenstein, JFCS director of prevention and support services. “Knowing and identifying warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the beginning of the end of violence.” This is why this program is being presented, she said. “No one should live in fear of the person they love.”

Bahati wrote, produced, and stars in I Am Domestic Violence. The one-woman musical has received national acclaim as outstanding entertainment that takes domestic violence “out of the closet,” using statistics, facts, and even some humor to bring home the impact of this pervasive problem.

Named John-Ann Washington at birth, the native North Carolinian legally adopted her Swahili name when she “reinvented herself” — Wambui means “singer of songs,” Bahati, “my fortune is good.” She made her professional debut in Godspell at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, and performed in the Broadway productions of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.

She is the author of the autobiographical You Don’t Know Crazy — My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness.

Other program sponsors include United Way of Greater Mercer County, Congregation Beth Chaim, The Jewish Center, Board of Rabbis of Princeton Mercer Bucks, The Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University, SHARE Princeton University, Beth El Synagogue, Womanspace, The Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rider University, Hightstown-West Windsor Ministerium, and Leanore Levine.

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