Last week I attended the Domestic Violence awareness program at the Houston Area Women’s Center shelter and it was powerful to be back and be surrounded by survivors. It felt like home and it reminded me of the important work advocates at the Women’s center do. I also realized that although I may have left, my heart is still there.
I’ve been working for HCC for nearly two months and it has been a great learning experience. Like with every new experience, there have been challenges but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. My mind is slowly shifting more attention to issues of education but my heart is still with Women’s issues. I say this because for the first few weeks all I could think about was the opportunity to partner with the Women’s center and how HCC could support its mission (I actually still think about this every day).
Being at back at the shelter was touching because I was able to listen and watch survivors share some of their struggles. During a powerful presentation survivors were asked to connect their palms with a partner, look into each others eyes and listen to a song. It was such a powerful exercise because some of them connected and were able to feel each other’s pain. Some cried as they held each other, others had to step out of the room because it was too much. It was a privilege to be in that room and feel the energy. It was powerful.
As some of you may know October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is the first time in more than 5 years I’m not as involved for obvious reasons (new job and all). I wanted to wait until the last day of the month to write something because although I feel very strongly about this month, I also believe it is important to create awareness about this issue 365 days of the year. This doesn’t just happen in October. Last year, 114 Texas women were killed by their partner, 30 of them in Harris County. Domestic violence can be prevented; it is not a disease without a cure or prevention. It doesn’t have to happen yet it does. Prevention starts early, with the youngest members of our family and it has to become a practice in our daily lives. Prevention means doing something about it when we see someone being abused. Prevention means not only talking to our children about what a healthy relationship looks like but also setting an example. Prevention means speaking up when we don’t agree with something and challenging the norms. Prevention means involving men and encouraging them to be part of the solution.
You can be a part of the solution. I encourage you to search the answers to the following questions:
- What is domestic violence?
- How can I help someone who is being abused?
- How can I prevent it?
- How can I get involved?
If you read the answers to any of these questions consider yourself “aware” and my job here is done. Now it is your turn to do something. What will you do?