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Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence

East Hampton’s The Retreat works on prevention from the ground up. By Jenna Lebovits, The Purist In the ’80s on the East End, talk of domestic violence was hush-hush. Pastors, therapists and school employees offered quiet, underground support. Resources in the region were scarce, yet vital, for abuse survivors, so a grassroots movement began: In […]

My Experience as a Social Worker

By Sarah Samson, , MPH, CHESProject Coordinator of Long Island Safer Bars My experience as a social worker in domestic violence began while working with families who were formerly unhoused. Most of my clients had experienced some form of domestic or sexual violence leading up to becoming unhoused. When the opportunity to work in preventing […]

Teen Leader: Why TLC is Important

Teen Leadership Council group photo

By Christina, a Retreat Volunteer and College Student As a college senior, I am not exactly a high schooler, yet I attend the Teen Leadership Council (TLC) meetings as a volunteer and intermediary for the students. These meetings have impressed me in countless ways thus far. Primarily, the students are very well-versed in the signs […]

Common Questions About DV

At The Retreat, we are big believers in the saying, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” 

When it comes to domestic abuse, a complex and personal topic, there is often a lot of confusion. But, the more we know, the better we can help those in need and ultimately break the cycle of family violence.

Read on to see some common questions and answers about this issue:

1. Why don’t they just leave?
There are many reasons why someone might stay in an abusive relationship:

Fear of their partner’s actions | Concern over their ability to live independently | Abuse was normal in their household and they don’t recognize that the behavior is abusive | Shame that they are in an abusive relationship, feeling like they did something wrong rather than their abuser | Lack of resources, they may be financially dependent on their abuser after not being allowed to work or have access to bank accounts | Guilt over taking children away from a parent. 

2. Are all victims women and all perpetrators men?

No. One in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.  [can’t find something that goes here because the page I was looking at was almost identical to the other!]

3. Does it count as abuse if it doesn’t include physical abuse?

Domestic abuse is not just physical. It can be emotional, sexual, technological, financial and spiritual. 

4. Is abuse only common in romantic relationships?

No. Abuse can happen between relatives, such as parents and children or siblings, as well as in friendships and the workplace.

5. Does abuse discriminate?

No. Abuse can affect individuals of every age, gender, sexual orientation, income level, education level, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background.

A Met Show in Retreat Boutique Windows

By Judy D’Mello
August 17, 2023

Karl Lagerfeld, the prolific fashion designer of Balmain, Chanel, Fendi, and his own line, who died in 2019, once famously said that fashion didn’t belong in museums because no one wanted to “look at a bunch of old dresses.”

And yet, earlier this year, his own work was the subject of a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” ran from May to July and featured about 200 dazzling creations from the designer’s legacy.

Now, a piece of that show lives on at the Retreat Boutique in Bridgehampton: Ten bespoke mannequins used in the Met’s retrospective were donated to the charity thrift store, helping to make its vast collection of “preloved” items — many with couture labels — look more enticing than ever.

For the Retreat, East Hampton’s domestic violence nonprofit, the boutique’s revenue from sales of its “bunch of old dresses” goes toward providing free services, advocacy, and shelter for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. How the clothes are displayed, in the windows and within the store, is therefore an important part of the equation, and that task falls to Ani Antreasyan, an East Hampton resident who volunteers at the boutique as a window dresser and display stylist. She is also the reason the Lagerfeld mannequins are now gracing the windows of the boutique.

“I worked at the Met for 12 years starting in 1986,” she said during a recent phone call. “And for a while I was the assistant to the head designer of the museum, helping put on the exhibits. The Costume Institute always had exhibitions coming and going, so I worked with them often.”

Ms. Antreasyan, who is now an artist and real estate broker, said she jumped at the opportunity to go the Lagerfeld show in the spring, calling it “one of the best displayed and installed shows I’ve ever seen at the Met.”

Back in Bridgehampton, while attending to the boutique’s window display, she grew increasingly frustrated wrestling with the antiquated mannequins, probably 20 or 30 years old, that were missing limbs, difficult to dress and undress, and constantly toppling over. “They gave me a really hard time,” she said, and wistfully thought back to the statuesque display models she had seen at the museum. It sparked an idea.

“I still have a lot of friends at the Met so I contacted someone and asked her what their plans were for the mannequins post-show. She said they had no plans for them!”

The Met agreed to donate 10 mannequins that were custom-made in Italy for the Lagerfeld show. These female body forms with fully articulated limbs feature heads inspired by the lines of a German Art Deco porcelain sculptor whose work Mr. Lagerfeld collected. Their hands, meanwhile, showcase elongated fingers for a more expressive gesture.

“I was so overwhelmed seeing these mannequins in the Retreat Boutique that I had goosebumps,” said Ms. Antreasyan, after unpacking the boxes that were delivered on August 1. “I saw them in all their glory at the Met and having access to such beautiful products makes me feel so grateful and happy.”

The Lagerfeld mannequins and Ms. Antreasyan’s artistry are on display at the Retreat Boutique in the Bridgehampton Commons. Admission is free, though leaving without dropping a few dollars might be tough.

The Retreat Presents at the Beau Biden National Conference

The Retreat’s Education Department presented at the Beau Biden National Conference to Protect America’s Youth on June 28th. The conference featured more than 60 speakers and experts on child welfare, abuse, the law, youth, and more, with the goal of providing advice and a plan for preventing and responding to child abuse in any community. […]

“The View” Treats Moms at The Stephanie House

Gretta Monahan, lifestyle expert from “The View,” and producer Robin Hommel organized a day of pampering for the women at The Stephanie House shelter over Mother’s Day weekend. Monahan and the tv crew headed east for the day to treat the women and raise awareness about domestic violence. The segment aired on June 16th. Hair and makeup stylists from the show provided the women with makeovers. And with their pick of beautiful new clothes, bags and shoes, our residents were able to start rebuilding their wardrobes. After the head-to-toe styling, the women were treated to a specially-prepared meal at the shelter, courtesy of celebrity chef Katie Lee. We are immensely grateful to Gretta, Robin and “View” co-host Joy Behar for providing these women with a well-deserved day of pampering and for making them feel so special!

Sportime Couple Honored at Retreat Gala

Printed in East Hampton Star June 8, 2023 The number-one spot on the 2022 Forbes annual top charities list went to Feeding America, a Chicago-based network that supplies more than 200 regional and local food banks in the United States.Ten other food-related charities appeared on the list, reflecting the pandemic’s impact on food insecurity in […]

A Hidden Epidemic

We should all be outraged about intimate partner abuse, which is violence against women 90% of the time. It’s often an invisible and tolerated behavior that has to stop.

Financial Wellness is Crucial for Survivors of Abuse

One in 4 women experience domestic violence in the United States, and nearly all of those cases include financial abuse. This is one of the primary reasons why victims are unable to leave an abusive partner or have to return to one.

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