A survivor shared this at the Candlelight Vigil on Thursday, October 27. She gave us permission to share her story here:
It is a privilege to speak to you tonight about domestic violence awareness and the community resources available at Steps to End Domestic Violence. It is also a great personal challenge as a survivor of domestic violence for me tonight to come before you.
I am able to stand before you this evening because of the local community supports I received through Steps to End Domestic Violence.
I have come out of years of a very isolated life because of the abuse. It wasn't purposeful that I became isolated from my family, friends, and community. It was a result of the abuser's chronic behaviors to me over time.
For 22 years, I have been coping with my abusive husband and now ex-husband of five years. Although I have been divorced for five years the abuse doesn't stop; it continues.
As I speak before you today, there was a crisis today based on his abusive behaviors.
However, I have changed. I have come from years of isolation to transformation, rediscovering parts of my best self that I thought were gone forever.
The consistent supports at Steps to End Domestic Violence helped me make these changes for myself.
Up until recently, I was utilizing Steps to End Domestic Violence supports largely for chronic crisis. Steps to End Domestic Violence provides: 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter and group support services, transitional housing, economic advocacy, legal advocacy, safety planning advocacy and support with systems, and support for children.
The life changing part for me was that Steps to End Domestic Violence supports met me where I was.
Consistently being there, working with me through each and every crisis, and each and every step of the moving forward process.
The bottom line: a consistent, predictable, safe place to be supported.
What I've learned and continue to learn with these supports is:
- To persevere despite the abuse
- Be persistent
- Say NO to the fear and isolation
- To trust my own judgement
- To take risks
Steps to End Domestic Violence not only helped me with all of the support systems I mentioned, but also, and perhaps the most impactful, to come out of isolation. They not only helped save my life, but also offered me the support to find my best self again.
I'm standing here today, out in public for the first time ever - to raise awareness and to be in solidarity with other survivors and supporters. I am moving forward in my life; I am making something positive out of a very abusive situation.
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