A Beacon of Light

I’m sitting down to write a piece for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and truly feel at a loss for words.  Things at the agency have been busy.  Busy probably doesn’t do it justice.  The words I’ve heard down the hallways have been “heavy” “urgent” “crazy” “drowning” “devastated.”  I wouldn’t say things at the agency are ever slow and unimportant, but it has been an especially hectic month.  Perhaps domestic violence is growing even more rampant.  Are more people finding themselves in violent intimate relationships than ever?  I sat at my desk one Monday with piles of paperwork to get through.  However, I hardly looked at it due to the ever-ringing phone, meeting with a woman who walked to our door, desperate for help, and helping someone in my own personal circle plan their escape.  A person I know and love, who has been suffering in silence for years.  I find hopelessness creeping in. 

But then I take a step back.  I go to the coffee shop for a break and I see our number hung on the wall in the bathroom.  I check Facebook and see our CEO advocating on a podcast.  I talk to a friend who just referred someone she knows to us.  And hope begins to stir in my heart.  I don’t believe the issues have gotten worse but rather that our presence has gotten stronger.  I believe that more people know about our services.  More people are learning that feeling scared and controlled in their relationship is not normal.  More people feel they have somewhere where they can access safety, where they can think freely, and where they can dream endlessly.

I believe it is because we are shining a light.  We have raised a beacon of light in our communities and are shouting that we will no longer stand for this.  We are here. We are safe.  And we will fight fiercely with you. 

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, we are your allies.  We stand with you and proclaim that no one deserves violence.

If you are a community member, we are your responders.  We are here to answer questions, process with you, and help unpack ideologies and beliefs that have allowed gender violence to permeate our culture for too long.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a big deal for us.  We believe so strongly in what we do, and more important, who we do it for.  So, thank you.  Thank you for giving money.  Thank you for hanging a poster.  Thank you for telling a friend about us.  Thank you for being brave enough to pick up the phone and call.  Though the need seems ever increasing, we know it is light exposing darkness.  And we will never stop burning.