Remember

“You win some, you lose some and some get rained out,” my dad used to say every time we lost a soccer game. I think there was a great lesson in that statement. As we kick off the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I think it is a time to celebrate our successes, remember our losses and prepare for the days that will just get rained out.

Celebrating Wins! Witnessing and being a part of empowering another person to successfully reach beyond anything they ever imagined brings a sense of accomplishment and pride to Safeplace volunteers and staff. Every day, we set out on a mission to prevent domestic violence, intervene when it happens, and provide safe places for those pursuing happiness and freedom and independence. What you do on an everyday basis can mean everything to another person.

I talked to a former Safeplace client the other day who did not sound like the same person I met two years ago. This woman was decisive and confident and happy. She had gotten her life back and was working diligently to improve her future. I was so proud. I remember when she and her children first escaped to shelter. She did not believe that she was a victim, and we feared she would be killed if he lured her back. Her abuser had beaten her down emotionally to the point that she could not make a decision, apologized for everything under the sun, and constantly asked what she should do next.

Our creed says, “We are here to help you identify your options…not to decide what you should do. We are here to help you learn to choose…not to make it unnecessary for you to make difficult choices. We are here to provide support for change,” and change she did. She’s back in school. She has a great job. And she has a sense of strength about her. Empowerment works.

Remembering Losses. Sometimes a client loses their battle in court, sometimes we lose a client, and sometimes we lose victims that we never had the chance to meet or serve. We grieve our losses, but I would not say we accept them. We remember all of the lives that have been taken away at the hands of someone who believed they had the right to control the person they claimed to love. Each loss only makes us more determined than ever not to lose the next one. Our vision is to live in a world where family and intimate partner violence does not exist. Imagine how different our world would be. The closer we get to that vision, the less we will lose.

Rained Out. On rainy game days, I wanted to play in the mud. But if the storms were bad, they postponed the event for another day. Just like many others agencies that serve victims, such as law enforcement or social workers, we find ourselves frustrated when a victim goes back to a violent abuser. We want to see her escape so badly, and when she thinks the barriers are too great for her, we want to throw our hands up and wallow in the mud. It may seem we’ve been rained out, but the sun will be coming around again. We’ll get another chance. When you’re talking about major life-changing decisions—the answers are not always going to be easy. If we don’t get that chance with that victim, we may with the next. There are many, many more who need us to be ready, determined and able to help them. Victims of abuse need to know that they can come to us again, when they’re ready, and the door will still be open.

We rely on the support of our community in so many ways from financial support, to volunteers, to being living examples within their own families. If you want to be a part of our vision, your home is a good place to start. We all could use a little more respect; we all could give a little more respect; and we all should expect respect.

Rachel

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2 Responses to “Remember”
  1. Becky Terry says:

    Are there events planned for Domestic Awareness Month?
    Becky Terry

    • admin says:

      Yes, Safeplace has an event planned to show appreciation to our volunteers with a mix and mingle that will focus on team building as well as domestic violence awareness. Each of the DVRCs and the Marion County Task Force also have events planned. The Colbert County DVRC will hold its annual candle light visual on October 1 at the Colbert County Courthouse. Marion County has a supply drive going on now for the shelter and will be holding their annual Golf Tournament on October 5th in Guin. Winston and Franklin counties are planning smaller awareness projects including an empty table exhibit and a restaurant card program. Lawrence County is focusing on prevention with an essay contest and poster contest to be exhibited at the county fair.

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