Table decor at the 24th annual Knock Out Abuse Gala at the Ritz Carlton in Washington on Nov. 2. The gala raises money to support victims of domestic violence. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)

While Washington’s influential men were smoking cigars at Fight Night, on Thursday, more than 700 D.C. power women (and a few men) gathered at the Ritz-Carlton for the 24th Annual Knock Out Abuse gala to raise more than $700,000 (and counting) to support domestic abuse survivors.

During the dinner, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) told a moving personal story about her own experience growing up with an abusive father, and one night she’s never forgotten.

“He snapped,” Dingell recalled. “I kept my parents from killing each other. I called the police and they wouldn’t come. We hid in a closet and we were convinced that that was the night that we were going to die. I’ll never forget that night, that sense of hopelessness.”

Shifting gears post dinner, guests kicked off their heels and let loose at the notoriously uproarious after party. They were joined by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, former mayor Adrian Fenty and many of the black tie clad men who had been at the Washington Hilton for Fight Night. The party continued well past midnight on a school night.


Knock Out Abuse co-founder Cheryl Masri talks with gala co-chair Elissa Davidson and her father, Lysander Canlas, at the 24th annual Knock Out Abuse Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington on Nov. 2. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) at the gala. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)

Lisa Bolden and Paul Wharton at the gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)

Julae Rienzo, Alicia Hennenberry and Sassy Jacobs at the Knock Out Abuse Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington on Nov. 2. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)

Scott Plank, Joe Bous and former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty on  Nov. 2. (Erin Schaff for The Washington Post)