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A Night Out: Knock Out Abuse

While the men go to Fight Night, the women party it up at the Ritz

Luciana Pedraza, wife of Robert Duvall, with Archie Drury and Hunt Master Robert Banner.

What: 13th Annual Knock Out Abuse Against Women gala

Where: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, DC

When: November 2, 6:30 p.m. to late

Price of admission: $400 for an individual ticket.  

Who: This giant girls' night out included 750 women and a scattering of men. Most prominent among those with a Y chromosome was actor Robert Duvall. TV anchors Leon Harris and Barbara Harrison helped emcee. Event founders Cheryl Davis Masri and Jill Sorenson and event chair Holly Muldoon were there, along with guests who included the Washington Ballet's Kay Kendall; lobbyist Heather Podesta; Charrise Jordan, wife of Wizards' coach Eddie; Staci Brunell, wife of Redskins' quarterback Mark; Charlene Drew Jarvis; Grace Bender; Argentinian ambassador Jose Octavio Bordon and his wife; Ann Walker Marchant; Neiman Marcus' Martha Slagle; architect Olvia Demetriou; and Sheryl Wilbon, wife of Post sports columnist Michael.

Scene: Women in sexy, plunging dresses (mostly in black) were greeted out front by polo players in red uniforms with polo ponies, then escorted to the ballroom level by tuxedoed men. A cheesy Tom Cruise impersonator who fooled no one seemed to hold less interest than the spa packages, handbags, and other goodies in the silent auction.

What happens when you put 750 women in one room: You can't get them to stop talking—over the din, you couldn't hear the presenters at the podium.

The one exception: When this year's honoree, Yvette Cade—the Prince Georges County women who was set on fire by her husband—described what it felt like when the match hit her gasoline-soaked back, you could hear a pin drop.

What you missed if you left early: An impromptu performance by the Temptations, who came over from the Fight Night party.

What happens when you mix champagne and a movie star: A live auction package that included a four-day, three-night stay at Robert Duvall's home in Argentina, in the foothills of the Andes, and a photo with him taken at the party went for $17,500.

Food: crab salad, fillet of beef, and, for dessert, panqueques con dulce de leche—an Argentina-style filled crepe.

Beverage of Choice: champagne

Gift Bag Contents: Knock Out Abuse T-shirt, Polo Ralph Lauren and Juicy Couture perfumes, Lancôme eye cream, discount certificates and invitations to special shopping nights at retailers including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Cartier, and Boone and Sons. And at each place setting: a $50 gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fallout: The event raised more than a half-million dollars—close to $5 million in its 13 years—which goes to organizations that help women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.


Bold Face Guests: 2 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 4 (out of 5)
Food/Drinks: 4 (out of 5)
Overall Exclusivity: 4 (out of 5)

Total score: 14 (out of 20)

Knock Out Abuse co-founder Cheryl Masri,the Ambassador of Argentina Jose Octavio Bordon and co-founder Jill Soresen.
Robert Duvall, wife Luciana Pedraza, the Ambassador of Argentina Jose Octavio Bordon and Mrs. Bordon.

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Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.