Home USA News The Tri-Cities concert aims to share stories of survival

The Tri-Cities concert aims to share stories of survival

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When Nina Powers was still a teenager, she got the chance of a lifetime when a famous violin teacher took an interest in her.

It soon turned into a nightmare as he began touching her inappropriately, then kissing her and finally assaulting her.

As horrible as the man’s actions were, the fact that no one stepped in to help her at that moment was even worse.

“For me, these events weren’t as bad as being rejected by the community, rejected by your people because they’re too embarrassed to face what’s going on,” she told the Herald.

Now she hopes to shed light on the pain and suffering of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and sex trafficking. The violinist, high school teacher and music director of the Mid-Columbia Symphony Orchestra helped organize Into the Light, a concert combining choral and string music with stories of heroes and survivors.

The event will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1609 W. 10th Ave. in Kennewick. The event presented by Art without bordersis free to the public.

The idea for the concert came to Powers during a trip to Germany with the Bavarian Philharmonic. She visited the concentration camps used during the Holocaust.

“Cement barracks hid evils the world had never known before and allowed them to flourish. Today it is a holy land brought to the world. Bus lines deliver tourists daily. People from all over the world come in a continuous stream to pray and remember the victims,” ​​she said.

“The world has learned to look at this terrible time in history and salute the survivors. I expect such a compassionate response to exist in all areas of human suffering and sacrifice. “

She hopes to shine a light on the stories of survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, with the hope that survivors will be accepted, believed and reintegrated into the community.

Stories of survivors

The event is dedicated to Brandi Ebanez, who is believed to have been killed by her longtime boyfriend Richard Jacobsen, according to court documents.

Powers met Ebanez when the Kennewick woman worked at Fieldstone Memory Care, she told the Herald. Powers’ mother was a patient there at the time.

Melry Smith, a close friend of Ebanez’s, said Jacobsen cut her off from friends and family and forced her into greater isolation. Ebanez was then strangled and beaten between September 19 and 27. She was left naked in the Columbia River, wrapped in black plastic and weighed down with landscaping stones.

Her the boyfriend was arrested in Multnomah Countyand is awaiting extradition to Benton County to face charges of second-degree murder.

Ebanez’s stories will be played on stage along with music by a string quartet during Friday’s event. Other speakers will include someone from Mirror Ministries who will share information about sex trafficking in the Tri-Cities.

Powers’ story

Powers will also share his story. She said that the concert was a deep reconciliation for her, because she was stuck in the past, which she was ashamed of.

“I believed that as long as it was hidden, everything would be OK, that I would be OK,” she told the Herald. “The cure is not really very far until we can detect the disease. While we are pretending that there is no infection, it is just spreading.”

From the ages of 11 to 17, she was a member of the youth symphonic ensemble and attended a three-week music camp each summer. The program itself was great, but when she was 16, the event featured a Juilliard graduate and professional violinist.

When he invited her to take private lessons, she was thrilled.

“He said I had what it took to be a student at Juilliard and I had the rare talent to be a solo violinist,” Powers recalled. “It was a 16-year-old boy’s dream come true. I started classes with incredible enthusiasm. I listened to his recordings and was thrilled to be able to work with such a brilliant and famous artist.’

In the third lesson, he started touching her hands and waist. She thought it was no big deal.

Then he kissed her and told her not to tell anyone. He promised that they would rise to the top of the music industry together.

“He said our secret was sacred and that having sex with him would allow me to play Beethoven’s string quartets, which required ‘life experience,'” she said.

As he continued, she told her fellow students, but nothing happened. Then, on the night of the final performance, he invited her to a staff reception. She recalled being confused and asking if they knew he had been harassing her.

After the party, he insisted on taking her to the dorm. He led her to a concrete army bunker and pushed her down.

“There was a struggle. There was power. He was very strong, but also drunk, and I was fast,” she said. “I remember running across a field with dead grass. I ran as fast as I could, barefoot, then I saw a searchlight coming from the camp barracks. I ran to meet him.”

At the time, it seemed strange. She was led into a room, still in a state of shock. She was told to pack and wait for the next day.

When the parents arrived, they did not talk about what had happened. She couldn’t process what had happened. She could not return to the symphony. She stopped eating and stopped playing the violin.

It took her six years to return to music, but she still had a love-hate relationship.

“Somewhere deep inside me, saying yes to music is like saying yes to an attack, and so I fight and fight with myself, I’m almost ashamed that I love music so much. That I love Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 59 No. 1 so much!” she said.

Her attacker never recovered from his attack and died of cancer years later. She hopes that sharing her story will encourage others not to hide or deny the truth, but to face it with courage.

“I hope for a community that seeks to understand the truth about these issues, offering survivors a welcoming and compassionate response. That this level of human suffering, which is too often relegated to the shadows, could be brought to light,” she said.

This story was originally published November 9, 2022 at 7:14 p.m.

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Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. Studied communications at Washington State University.

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