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W.A.I.T – What Am I Thinking?

Wambui Bahati presented her one-woman play 'I Am Domestic Violence' to Quinte area high school students during PECI's first Domestic Violence Symposium.

Wambui Bahati caught everybody’s attention when she rose from a random seat among hundreds of area high school students and staff in the powerful persona of  ‘Domestic Violence.’
“I Am Domestic Violence,” she proclaimed as she made her way through the crowd, up to the stage. “And until you decide I really am a problem; until you decide I really exist; fasten your seatbelts because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
Through her one-woman play, Bahati took on the many faces of abuse by donning various jackets and blouses and assuming roles of men, women and children to illustrate that domestic violence speaks loud and proud and arrogantly destroys lives.

“Somebody run and tell somebody. I can’t believe what I hear, what I see. Too many people living in secracy… This ain’t how it’s supposed to be.”
– (song lyrics, ‘I Am Domestic Violence’)

Wambui Bahati is an inspirational and motivational speaker, author, entertainer and holistic mental health and ’empowerment over domestic violence’ advocate.
With more than 40 years of professional theater and public speaking experience, she performs at a wide range of venues and cities throughout the United States. This performance, held at the Picton arena for local and area high school students and staff, was her first engagement in Canada.
Her keynote address highlighted Prince Edward Collegiate Institute’s first domestic violence symposium. Entitled, ‘WAIT – What Am I Thinking?’ the full day event involved the whole PECI community, both staff and students.
One of the day’s organizers, PECI English and Social Science teacher Stacey McErlean said Bahati’s address was followed by a day of workshops conducted by 18 guests from local agencies who focused on promoting healthy teen relationships and specific topics within the field of domestic violence. Bahati’s keynote address was sponsored by the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation. Board of directors chairman Elaner Pound told the crowd at the arena that the foundation knew it was an event we wished to sponsor as participants would come away with a better understanding of what domestic violence is and of the supports available in the community.
Named John Ann Washington at birth, Wambui Bahati is her new legal name taken on during the “reinvention of herself.” In Swahili Wambui means “singer of songs,” and Bahati means, “my fortune is good.”
This dynamic survivor draws upon her diverse background and an environment filled with challenging adversities that she miraculously overcame.
Bahati has been a Broadway star. She has been on welfare. She was told she would spend the rest of her life in mental institutions. She has been homeless, bullied, abused and raped.
Since, her work has received national acclaim for the unique way she provides outstanding entertainment while dealing with important issues.
The native North Carolinian lives in New York City and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed, tell-all, autobiographical empowerment book, You Don’t Know Crazy – My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness.
At the end of her presentation she reminded her audience about how far reaching domestic violence is and about behaviour patterns of abusers, of victims and of warning signs in abusive relationships.
“It is really important to talk about it with somebody. Keeping it in manifests in your life in other ways and it’s a lot of pain to keep inside.
“I have met a lot of people – adults and younger people – who cannot say ‘I love me’. If you cannot say it, it’s really important to start learning ways to feel good about yourself and respect yourself. There is never any excuse for anyone to treat you badly. No excuse.”
She asked who in the audience started out as a baby.
“Babies. We say precious babies are miracles, are gifts from God and what I want to remind you is that just because you got older, bigger, taller, wider, whatever – you are still that miraculous, wonderful kid. If you ever stop thinking that, Stop! W.A.I.T. – What Am I Thinking?”

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