Crisis Centre hosts ‘Strength of a Woman’

Lillian Lee will share her inspiring story.

Those who attend the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre’s annual “Strength of a Woman” luncheon can expect to be both humbled and inspired this week as guest speaker Lillian Lee recounts her experiences of, and ultimate release from, abuse and violence.

“Strength of a Woman” will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Friday at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

Ms. Lee, formerly known as Michelle Knight, was one of three women held hostage and abused by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio, for more than a decade before their May 2013 escape. She will talk about her life after being freed from the “house of horrors” and where she has found the strength to move on from her experiences.

“To find the inner strength and courage to move on after this horrific experience is extremely inspiring, and I believe that each and every one of us will greatly benefit from Lillian Lee’s talk,” said CICC Executive Director Ania Milanowska.

Fundraising Committee member and event organizer Paola Juarez said, “Lillian’s firsthand account of courage, strength and hope has made her one of the most inspirational women of our time. Her message is one of healing, surviving and even thriving. She is a true inspiration and beacon of hope to all of those who have experienced sexual violence.”

The organization’s members also hope many men will attend. “We would love to see more men getting involved and supporting our cause,” said Ms. Milanowska.

An exhibit of local female artists' works, like this Janis Hopley piece, will be on display at the lunch, and 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Crisis Centre.
An exhibit of local female artists’ works, like this Janis Hopley piece, will be on display at the lunch, and 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Crisis Centre.

All proceeds will go to the Crisis Centre to support its day-to-day operations and its new drop-in center, which aims to create a separate administration location for CICC.

The location of the Crisis Centre is confidential to help ensure client safety. Creating a separate drop-in center will provide administrative offices for the organization and for those who need access to the center’s services but who do not necessarily need shelter.

The new center will also house after-care and outreach programs; a call center for the 24-hour crisis line and future youth-related hotline; a drop off/pick-up center for clients; a “TAYA Lounge” providing ongoing therapeutic intervention for troubled teens and young adults; and a Family and Friends Café where clients, their families and friends can meet and attend group meetings and talks.

This is the third year the center has hosted the inspirational luncheon. Previous speakers were Leslie Morgan Steiner, domestic abuse survivor and author of “Crazy Love,” and attorney Joshua Safran, author of “Crime After Crime” and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse.

Tickets are $150, or $1,350 for a table, and include a three-course meal and glass of wine, as well as free membership during June at Krav Maga Gym. There will also be an art exhibition, with 20 percent of any sales going to the CICC.