This week I’ve been lucky to see courage sprinkled throughout my days. I’ve been working with several reporters on stories dealing with teen Dating Violence. For every story there is a courageous survivor who speaks up. Not too long ago I reached out to a mother whose daughter had been killed by her ex boyfriend. Her daughter was only 18 years old and pregnant which means she also lost her grandchild. I asked if she would be open to sharing her story and she did not hesitate to say yes. That is courage. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for her to sit there and talk about what happened to her babies. I called her after the interview and she said, “I couldn’t stop crying but I hope this helps save someone’s life- then she didn’t die in vain.”
One of the greatest ways I’ve experience courage is when I hear survivors tell their stories. Most will never know how courageous they really are by speaking up and sharing something so personal. I admire that.
One of my co-worker’s courage this week was also admirable. A request for an advocate came in to our hotline to go see a teen who had been badly burned by who they thought was her boyfriend. My co-worker came to me and with tears in her eyes said, “I just can’t go. I cannot see her. I keep thinking of my kids and it would be too hard but it is my job and we have t be there for her but I just can’t.” It took a lot of courage to recognize what she was feeling and pay attention to what her body was screaming to her, “don’t go”
Advocates and counselors are truly amazing beings. I have so much respect for the work they do day in and day out- I couldn’t do it. Magic happens every time they talked to a survivor and attempt to make sense of what they are feeling. It takes so much to be able to sit there, listen and comfort. That to me is courage.
I see courage every time I visit a survivor in a hospital room. This week I visited 2. I haven’t done visits in a long for self-care reasons. Life brings you signs in many different ways. Seeing these two women in that hospital room reminded me once again why I love this work. The direct contact I get to have with a survivor who just experienced something so horrible is nothing less than extraordinary. It takes courage to walk into that hospital and say, “I was raped.” It takes courage to have to tell your story over and over again. It takes courage for them to sit there by themselves and go through a rape kit. It takes them courage to being open to listen to what I have to say. This is by far one of the most amazing ways I experience courage and I’m so thankful for this.
My week started with an unexpected proposition and it challenged me to think about where I am in my life, and what I want from this point forward. These types of propositions are becoming more frequent and it really makes me think about the next step in my life- I’m referring professionally. It takes courage to recognize where you are standing, what you need and what really makes you happy. This week I’ve had to question all of it. It takes courage to say no. I’m sure it doesn’t stop here but today I know that I am happy and in love to be exactly where I am.