October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And it’s something that happens so often that it’s overlooked. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner and 1 in 15 children are exposed to that abuse – 90% of those children are eyewitnesses. This is just the United States alone to shed some light on those devastating numbers.
Back in April of this year a friend of mine’s company, Jamberry, was working on bringing more awareness to domestic violence (and still is) and it’s something very close to her heart as a survivor. They teamed up with a charitable organization called “No More” for their #NoMore Campaign. Over the next few days we would plan to come together and meet with other survivors at a local park so they could tell their stories. We reached out to Jamberry and received a few things compliments of Jared Richards – current President and CEO of Fight Against Domestic Violence. And the gesture alone is amazing.
We talked about how to portray this and agreed that a white board would be an easy way to show that the someone who has gone through this or is experiencing this could be anyone. You might even know someone who is a survivor and you may have never even known. It could be your neighbor, the person that sits in the next row down from you at church, or the person who might hand you the coffee you order every morning on the way to work. One by one I would get to know them and see the beautiful person they are and one by one they would take turns silently writing down the words that could only give you a glimpse into their story. One by one they allowed me to be part of a moment where they’re letting their guard down and I am grateful for that.
These survivors came together that day to show their community here in the Lubbock, TX, surrounding area, and the world that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. But most of all – for anyone that may be going through this… that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, that YOU HAVE A VOICE, and there is SOMEONE THAT WILL LISTEN TO YOU. They stood up and spoke out against domestic violence and came together with strength. One of these survivors said that day, “It’s been so long, it’s been over a decade, it’s been so long… I don’t know why it still effects me like this.” Experiences like this, they don’t just go away. Instead, they become a part of you and it became of a part of this survivor, this fighter, and I know it makes her stronger. I saw that she saw the world in a different way than most people and despite the ugliness she chooses to see beauty, happiness, and be joyful in the life that she fought for.
So many tears streamed down faces that day, including my own, and this was certainly a step towards healing. It took a lot of strength for them to come out and do this. Each of them told me that they want others to know that there is still happiness, joyfulness, and love after this storm. That YOU ARE DESERVING of the good things in your life. That SOMEONE CARES. But most of all that YOU ARE LOVED. It is such a hard battle but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are or know someone who is going through this please speak out and help take a stand against domestic violence.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).