Newly crowned 22-year-old Miss America chose a timely topic as her platform issue – and it was very personal.
Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, will add her name to the public roll of strong spokeswomen with a story to tell about domestic violence, now that she has won the official title of Miss America for the year 2015.
In an interview with NPR’s Shots, Kazantsev spoke out about her experience:
Back then, Kazantsev says, she wasn’t aware that there were resources available for victims of domestic violence. “I very well may have Googled it,” she says. “But that’s not the mindset that you’re in when you’re in that situation. You just feel alone. You feel helpless. You don’t feel like anyone could possibly understand.”
The fact that people are asking why Janay Rice stayed with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after he knocked her unconscious in an elevator shows a lack of understanding of the complex psychology of domestic violence, Kazantsev tells Shots.
“I want people to stop asking, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ ” Kazantsev says. “Every woman is an expert in her own case, and there are so many extenuating circumstances that lead to a woman staying with her abuser.”
The woman in the abusive relationship has to decide for herself that she wants to leave, Kazantsev says. The best thing friends and family can do is offer support.
“I definitely had friends that saw this and tried to help and didn’t know what to do,” she says. “And at that point I isolated myself. I was completely isolated from any help they were offering me.”
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