Inside the 22nd Annual Knock Out Abuse

Knock Out Abuse, Ritz Carlton, Washington, DC, November 5, 2015 (627)“Who said nothing good can come out of a night at Cafe Milano?”  Chairwoman Cynthia Vance rhetorically asked from the stage.  Twenty-two years ago, the idea for Knock Out Abuse was conceived and became a reality at the iconic Georgetown restaurant.  Over two decades later, the event is stronger than ever, with Vance joining Founders Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen to continue a strong fight against domestic abuse.

Last week’s Knock Out Abuse annual gala — “A Night in Florence” — took place at the West End Ritz Carlton with over 600 of DC’s loveliest ladies gathered to sup and schmooze.

Vance greeted guests at a cocktail hour before the main event that featured fashions modeled from Saks Jandel as well as buff male models channeling men of Italian myths.Knock Out Abuse, Ritz Carlton, Washington, DC, November 5, 2015 (165)

The ballroom filled with ladies — and a scattering of supportive men! — where everyone feasted on portobello porcini mushroom ravioli, chianti braised shortribs, and honey gelato, as emcee Andrea Roane introduced honored guests First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, Break the Silence Award recipient NBC Today’s Tamron Hall, and 2015 Honoree Mary Margaret Farren.

“We moved to this Ritz Carlton, right here in DC, and lived in an apartment upstairs after fleeing Connecticut,” Farren told the crowd while sharing her personal story.

Knock Out Abuse, Ritz Carlton, Washington, DC, November 5, 2015 (949)“My daughter had her second grade birthday in this very ballroom, so to be here tonight with all of you in this place is really wonderful.”


After the event, men flocked to the fete from their own Fight Night event, taking the evening into the night with drinking and dancing.

*Images credit Davide dePas for Knock Out Abuse