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‘Rock Out Against Domestic Violence’ concert tickets on sale

By Staff | Mar 21, 2019

The third annual “Rock Out Against Domestic Violence” concert is expected to be bigger than ever.

Classic rock cover band, Razing Cape, will perform March 30 at Top Rocker Plaza in Fort Myers and all proceeds will benefit ACT, Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc.

Tickets are $15 per person and include parking.

ACT, which has been providing support since 1978, offers services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

For the past two years, the concert has been held in Cape Coral. This is the first year it’s come to the City of Palms.

ACT applied to have an event at Top Rocker Plaza for free and the nonprofit was selected as the winner of the grant, “Property with a Purpose.”

“We’re really grateful,” community education and development coordinator, Meg Dalabes said, adding that they’ve received help with marketing and permitting for the event as well.

“I felt shocked and elated when I found out,” she said. “Domestic violence is a subject that touches many people’s lives, but it’s still something we might feel uncomfortable talking about. The fact that they chose us meant to me that they took a stand to support survivors and the community.”

ACT has three shelters in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Labelle.

In addition to counseling, access to a 24-hour hotline and programs for children, ACT provides people who come to shelters with things like toiletries, clothing, and activities for kids.

“They are coming because they are escaping violent situations,” Dalabes said. “Most likely they are coming with nothing.”

ACT is an advocate for people who have experienced abuse.

“We are trained on empowerment-based advocacy and trauma-informed care to let them know what their options are and to walk them though their rights and let them know what to expect so they can make the best decision for themselves,” Dalabes said.

She explained that sometimes organizations just give patients a case plan and things they can do.

“We provide people with options and resources and walk them through whatever path they choose to take.”

Each year at Rock Out Against Domestic Violence, Razing Cape has performed for free, and this year is no exception.

Some famous covers they play include songs from Journey, Guns N’ Roses, Pat Benatar, Heart, Journey, 38 Special, Joan Jett, and Blondie.

“There’s so many cool people who help make this event happen,” Dalabes said. “All of their time, talent and practicing to be there is all for free.”

Dalabes said the band’s drummer, Mark Cagel, works with Lee County and youth programs to bring Parks and Recreation-like programs to the kids in ACT shelters who don’t have the opportunity to go themselves.

“Mark packs a van with all of the activities and things to do,” Dalabes said. “And comes to the shelter.”

“He also happens to be a musician with a band.”

Roger and Aimee of The Bireley Family Foundation also provided a generous title sponsorship for the event.

“They have been huge supporters for a long time,” Dalabes said. “They consistently pay for kids and moms to go out to community events-movies, Christmas plays, things like that.”

Dinner will be served from local food trucks including Dave’s Cosmic Subs, Flavour Street and BudhaBlends Vegan Kitchen.

Budweiser beer and water will be available for purchase on-site. There will also be a 50/50 raffle cash prize.

Raffle prizes include certificates to Fort Myers and Cape Coral restaurants and venues like Sun Splash Family Waterpark.

Last year, ACT raised $3,000. This year, with a larger venue and the capacity to host twice as many guests, they hope to raise $7,000.

Dalabes said her goal for the event is to raise awareness of the different services ACT can provide the Southwest Florida community.

“It’s a really unique opportunity for the community to come together and have fun and show support for survivors in the community,” she said. “It’s not easy to do that on a subject like domestic and sexual violence. Awareness could save lives.”

This year Dalabes expects a bigger turnout than last year.

“This year, we’ve really amped up marketing. So far, based on Facebook traction, we are expecting 400 people.”

That’s double the amount of attendees from 2018’s event at the Cape Coral Yacht Club.

Money raised from the concert this year will go toward services like the 24/7 crisis hotline, ACT’s three emergency safety shelters, its counseling program and rape crises center.

ACT’s services are free and confidential, and as far as privacy goes, Dalabes said it’s just as safe as the type of communication between a lawyer and his or her client.

Dalabes also stresses that someone doesn’t need to experience recent abuse to take advantage of and benefit from ACT’s services.

“They could have experienced abuse 30, 40, or 50 years ago,” she said. “Or it could be someone who experienced abuse last weekend.”

In 2006, ACT adapted its services to include care for human trafficking victims. The certified dual center also provides care for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“Not every county has a dual center with things in one place,” Dalabes said. “Legal services in the agency as well. One organization, one safe place, one familiar place where people can come in for a variety of services.”

She describes what they do as empowerment-based advocacy, meaning people who have been abused have had control taken away after being abused, and, “ACT is here to help them get control back.”

Dalabes said many people think of domestic violence as something that happens to married couples and the family unit, but someone doesn’t have to be married to be a victim of abuse.

“This could be dating violence with teens that don’t live together,” she said. “It could be someone who’s not married but in a relationship.”

Intimate partner violence doesn’t discriminate against your relationship status. It’s about power and control.

“It’s about one partner coercing another,” Dalabes said. “It doesn’t have to be or isn’t only physical abuse. It includes economic abuse, intimidation, manipulation, hurting the kids and more.”

In fact, Dalabes estimates that about 99 percent of situations involve economic abuse.

“People say why doesn’t she leave or why didn’t they leave? Maybe she doesn’t have access to financial resources and the thought of being homeless or a single parent with no job or no access to resources is a huge barrier.”

Those in need of help can call ACT’s 24-hour hotline at 239-939-3112. A counselor will provide information and referrals. For more information about ACT visit www.actabuse.com.

ACT serves Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties. It provides long-term services to those in crisis through a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, forensic examinations, medical, legal and personal advocacy, violence prevention programs, children’s programs, and more.