It all started with my decision not to join the military. I wanted to serve people but do so in other ways. In a random google search, I typed in “suicide hotline volunteer.” An online application eventually led to an interview. Soon after, I began training as a crisis/suicide hotline volunteer.
My training covered a myriad of topics, one of which was domestic violence. Christina Baer, Director of The Prevention Project from A Woman’s Place (AWP) did the domestic violence presentation. She gave us literature to keep as a resource. Little did I know then that I would use the material quite often.
Training completed, I became a hotline volunteer. Over the following year, I often turned to AWP. Many times I spoke with victims of domestic violence and called the AWP hotline for advice. Speaking to AWP staff, I found them to be extremely helpful and as kind as can be. Impressed by the help, I decided to research AWP in depth and concluded that I needed to be a part of this organization. I went to their website to find the requirements to become an AWP volunteer, and sent in my application. When the Community Outreach Response and Education (C.O.R.E.) training finally began, I had no idea the eye-opening experience I was in for.
As I sat in C.O.R.E. training, a video was shown of a woman by the name of Susan Still who was a victim of domestic violence. Being someone who frequently volunteered as a worker on a crisis line, I thought that I could handle watching anything, and that my thick skin would hold up to what I was about to witness.
I was wrong, very wrong. The video shows a loving mother being savagely attacked and demeaned… her son forced to film it all. Susan lived a life of walking on egg shells, in sheer fear of saying or doing something to set her abuser off. I sat there floored by horror, unable to understand how someone could treat a person who loves them that way. I imagined if that had been my mother, my cousin or any of the women in my family.
This gave me even greater motivation to help people who experience abuse. I feel obligated to help, as I owe a lot of who I am to the strong women in my life. They taught me to respect women and to have compassion for others. That is why I am here.