Fall Semester 2019

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At the end of the summer, I thought, “Well, it might be time to update my head shots…” I’d grown in my gray AND my 80’s bangs (finally) Good thing I did; turned out that my <Domestic Violence Awareness Month> would last 16 weeks …

September 12 & 13 * Hobart & William Smith Colleges

September 18 * Niagara University, Dr. Dana Radatz, “Domestic Violence” Class

October 9 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Chris St Vil, “Theory of Human Behavior & Development”

October 18 * CAPPA Theatre, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown, Judicial Conference

October 24 * Woodclif Hotel, Rochester, Judicial Conference

October 28 * Buffalo Historic Courthouse, Judicial Conference

October 29 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Rob Keefe, SW 505

November 3 * St. John the Baptist RC Church, RCIA Program, Teen Dating Violence Program

November 12 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Noelle St. Vil, SW 505

November 13 * Hamburg HS, 9/10 grade Health Classes, Teen Dating Violence Program

November 14 & 18 * ECC Law Enforcement Academy w/the Erie County DV High Risk Team, Continuing Education for Sworn Officers

November 21 * Global Concepts HS, GLOW Program, Teen Dating Violence Program

December 18 * NC Law Enforcement Academy, 73rd Class

December 19 * Buffalo Family Courthouse w/Erie County DV High Risk Team, DV Program for Assigned Counsel

I also signed on with the @ncadv Speaker’s Bureau and finished out the final six months of the Peer Mentoring/DV Program sponsored by the Niagara County Victims Assistance Unit in the Niagara County jail. To top off my very long semester and to celebrate the season, I decorated my first “Period Tree” – <Just Say “NO!” to Period Shaming!>

Looking forward to a far less busy Spring Semester and to finally getting the first draft of the new book into the hands of my First Readers by the end of March. Say a prayer for me, folks; editing is the worst ūüė¶

 

The Strongest Person You Know

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Dear Victim of Domestic Violence,

You are the strongest person you know. In fact, you might be the strongest person you’ll¬†ever¬†know.

If you have lived through even one day when you were physically injured or emotionally battered by someone that¬†claimed to love¬†you, you are the strongest person you know. If you took the hit, physically or emotionally, and didn’t¬†completely shut down¬†on the spot from the hurt, shame, shock, grief, anger, humiliation, horror, disgust, and confusion that you felt, you are the strongest person you know. If you got up the next day and tried life again – took care of your kids, went to work, cooked and cleaned and saw friends, family and co-workers and went about daily life like your very soul¬†hadn’t¬†been dinged – you are the strongest person you know.

What’s ironic is that because of all of this, you probably think that you’re the weakest person you know. You think that¬†it’s your fault or maybe some sort or failure on your part. You look at your kids and¬†you worry¬†because there’s a chance that¬†they might have witnessed or heard the abuse that was wrought upon you. You don’t want friends or family to find out because maybe they would judge you.¬†Worst of all is that¬†you ‘blinked’; when your partner hurt you, you didn’t immediately rise up and end the relationship, like every *kick ’em to the curb* girl-anthem/pop song¬†says that an independent, strong woman does. Maybe you fought back and maybe you didn’t but ultimately, you stayed. And you let him stay. You let things cool down. You told yourself that it would never happen again. You bet on the hope that deep down, he’s a better man than his actions say that he is.

That’s not a bet I‚Äôd be willing to take.

Domestic violence escalates quickly and can be fatal. You feel weak because your soul has been dinged, but believe me when I tell you that you’re the strongest person you know because if you¬†managed to¬†live through even one instance of battery and still got up the next day, put feet on the floor and tried life again, you possess¬†a strength that can never be compromised. Not by your partner. Not by anyone.

If you leave, are things going to be weird for a while? Are you going to have to live somewhere unfamiliar? Will you have to change jobs, email addresses and your cell phone number? Will you have to stay away from social media? Will you have to trade in your car for a different model to ensure yourself a good amount of privacy and anonymity? Will your children be confused¬†and scared and require extra patience while you work through keeping yourself safe? Will loved ones, lawyers, co-workers and others ask you prying, silly or¬†uninformed questions like, Why did you stay for so long?, Why didn’t you call the police? or Why did you have another baby with him?¬†All or some of these things might happen, but you will handle it all and you will handle it well, because you are the strongest person you know.

How can I be so sure? Because I know this: If you¬†were strong enough¬†to have lived through even one instance of physical and/or emotional battery¬†with¬†your partner, you’re damn sure strong enough to live¬†without¬†him.

Love,

A Survivor