As the slightly inebriated crowd at The Ross Lower Campus began to settle down, Executive Director Jeffrey Friedman of The Retreat approached the podium and called for those sitting with purple napkins. About a quarter of the people in the room got to their feet.
This represented the 1-in-4 women who will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.
Artists, politicians and economists banded together on Saturday, June 22, at The Retreat’s 18th annual Artists Against Abuse gala at The Ross Lower Campus in Bridgehampton. Decked out in tie-dye and toting signs for peace, the night featured a silent and eventually live auction with all proceeds going to The Retreat’s services for domestic violence victims. Such services include counseling, shelters, hotlines and more.
Oksana Grigorieva was the guest speaker as a victim of domestic violence and one who has worked with domestic violence agencies like The Retreat all over the country.
“The most interesting thing about domestic violence is the humanity,” Grigorieva said. “The psychological abuse of the crime happens before the violence… It’s textbook almost.”
Meanwhile, the gala screamed ‘60s.
“Hippies” and “protestors” stood outside the driveway entrance with signs for peace. Waiters and waitresses with tie-dye shirts and bandanas around their head walked around the cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres.
“We’ve got an excited crowd for a good night of rock ‘n roll,” Friedman said. “We’ve got people in their best ‘60s outfits.
After the cocktail hours, patrons shuffled into the main room where The Fabulous 60s Rock Show was performing.
However, ask anybody there and the name of the game was raising money to prevent domestic violence.
“It’s obvious when someone has a black and blue mark,” said Ada Samuelsson, a former economist for The United Nations. “But it’s not so obvious with a bleeding heart.”
“It’s such an important issue,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “With the recession, there was a surge in domestic violence.”
Friedman agreed, noting that there was a 96 percent increase in calls to their domestic violence hotline over the past year.
The main event started with speeches from Friedman, Ann Liguouri and a few words from a domestic violence survivor. Afterwards, Sarah Friedlander of Christie’s Fine Art Auction House began the auction. One auction item, a sculpture by William King, valued at $35,000. The top bid for this item was $16,000.
“The agency is very consolidated,” Grigorieva said. “The amount of work they do is quite tremendous.”
For more information about The Retreat, visit http://theretreatinc.org..