Supporters of Love

Monday, May 2, 2011

This Week's Challenge: A Survivor Fights Back With Force and Fashion

Veronica Cizmar
We featured Veronica Cizmar and her adorable shop Some Like it Vintage on January 1, 2011 in an article titled Support a Domestic Violence Survivor "Retro-Style."   Cizmar does not focus on her tragic experience featured here in Veronica's Story, in fact she has a host of new focuses in her life.  Not being bound by past personal experiences, she has chosen to overcome and conquer in not only her own life, but also the life of others.

Please find below a short interview with the brave and beautiful, Veronica Cizmar:

Purchase this dress now!  

Q.  Tell everyone about your wonderful shop, Some Like it Vintage and how the sales from your shop benefits domestic violence survivors?
10% of the proceeds from this dress go to domestic violence causes.  

A.  Some Like it Vintage is an online vintage clothing store. I specialize in women's vintage dresses but carry a variety of vintage garments, even for men! I happily donate 10% of all my sales to The Redwood Shelter in Toronto - more when I am able. The shelter relies heavily on private funding and donations to supplement their government grants in order to provide what is needed for their residents.
Some Like it Vintage  

Q.  You recently told me that you also volunteer your time at your local women's shelter.  What kind of activities do you partake in at the shelter?
Cizmar taking down the 4th degree black belt man.

A.  I volunteer weekly by cooking dinner for all the residents. I try to create a healthy and diverse menu, often incorporating the many traditional world holidays that arise throughout the year. I also teach karate and self-defense seminars once a month to the women, their children, staff and other volunteers who wish to learn to defend themselves against an attacker.
Another 4th degree black belt opponent feels the wrath of Cizmar.

Q.  Can you tell us about your karate experience and why you started taking karate classes?
Sparring in a tournament.

A.   I began karate as I needed an intense workout to help me overcome my own anger issues. Surviving a severe hostage experience at the hands of my former fiancé, I was left to deal with post-traumatic stress and all the emotional issues attached to it. Anger was a large part that needed to be dealt with properly and my first reaction was to release the anger through physical training. My thought was karate would be intense enough, and at the same time I would learn how to defend myself. Several years later, I have attained a 2nd degree black belt and continue to train and teach. 
Teaching karate to children in the Bahamas. A karate workshop trip.

Q.  Why did you feel like teaching karate to the residents of your local women's shelter was beneficial for them?
Demonstration of self defense techniques, geared specifically for women.

A.  There were several reasons I wanted to teach karate to the shelter residents. Since I was also a domestic abuse survivor, I could appeal to the women and children on their level and understand what they were dealing with. I could sense their emotional stresses and tap into what I felt they could benefit from, and then give my advice and knowledge. Some of my karate seminars involve more talking than actual workouts - it depends on who is participating.  Some women just want to talk, others need the physicality for stress release - either way, I am there to help. Also, the shelter had been looking for a female karate instructor rather than a male, and when it was discovered I train and teach at my local dojo, it was a natural fit. We need to take care of our bodies and when we do, our mind becomes more clear - it's a strong message I relate to anyone. It works and thousands of years of martial arts has proved it.
Support Cizmar and Some Like it Vintage.  

Q.  What other ways do you feel like we as women can do to get to the root of this issue of domestic violence and really make an impact on the men in our society?
Demonstration of self defense techniques, geared specifically for women.

A.  There are many ways we can all get to the root of domestic violence and it depends just as much on men as it does on women. Often I feel women bear the burden of trying to fix the causes of domestic violence when in reality men need to be taught the severity and the wrongness of their actions. It's a worldwide problem without limits. In other words, it makes no difference who the woman is - she could be young or old, wealthy or poor, gay or straight, any number of variables come into play. The problem is the men who violate their freedom. It is unacceptable, yet continues and unfortunately I have no single answer. Education, workshops, seminars will all help and the participation of men is a necessity - but I feel we have a long way to go. Women can help themselves by being open to the typical signs of an abuser, reading the 'red flag' moments and listening to their instincts - when something feels wrong, it probably is.


  1. This is so great. Amazing post!

  2. Thanks Nina! Well, she's a great lady, so I guess it's not hard to pull off on my part:-)

  3. Nice blog you have here...followed you btw.
    Pls do drop by mine & follow me too...:)


  4. Thanks Ayieh! I appreciate the support, friend and yes, I followed you on your google connect:-)

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog and for the lovely comment. What you are doing is wonderful.

    ShannonB at SB-fly

  6. Those are beautiful vintage dresses! I love what you are doing with your whole blog. The idea behind it is very empowering : ) I would love to follow and keep in touch with the stories you post!


  7. I really love your blogs, too Shannon and Shelby. Your support is greatly appreciated here at The CFP~Meredith

  8. What an inspiring entry. I love her dresses, such a great turn around.

    Live Life in Style

  9. Oh, yeah, she is a survivor in every sense and such an inspiration for those who find themselves in similar circumstances.