A guiding light from Response
October 16, 2011
Editor’s note: The Aspen Times has a policy to not publish letters written by anonymous writers. However, because of the sensitive nature of the topic addressed in the following letter, we are relaxing that policy.
In 2008, I was involved in a very traumatic domestic altercation. I suffered significant physical and psychological damage and realized I did not know how to recover or get away from it. Unfortunately, this was not the first time that the police and hospitals had been involved in one of these incidents with me.
However, this time was different because I was contacted by an advocate from Response: Help for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. My advocate “held my hand” and showed up for me when I was unable to show up for myself. With her guidance and firm encouragement, I was motivated to go forward with the trauma counseling provided by Response. I became connected with a very capable therapist and, before I knew it, I was talking through the issues that had allowed me to find myself in an abusive situation. I firmly believe without this proactive option being placed before me by Response, I would not have been able to break this negative cycle in my life.
My view on domestic violence used to be that it was a terrible and escalating problem in our society but there was little hope for any change to be made because “troubled” people thrust themselves into that position. I now realize that domestic violence can happen to anyone. I also know through my own experience working with a domestic violence advocate in 2008 that it is possible to educate those at risk and help them become success stories rather than statistics.
I cannot say with certainty where I would be today if Response had not intervened on my behalf, but I am not hopeful that I would have found my way out of that dark hole of destruction and despair. I shudder to think where I could be today. Through Response, I learned the tools and received the proper counseling and medical attention that allowed me to break a horrible, life-threatening pattern. Today, I have my life back and I am working toward an education in a field that will help others who find themselves similarly paralyzed in these types of situations. Because of Response, and organizations like it, I got out of the system and now I am in a position to make a difference within it.
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I am telling my story as a part of my heartfelt appeal to donate to Response during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I am so grateful to Response for being there to help me turn my life around. Let’s continue the tradition of making Aspen a strong and caring community by supporting Response and the important work they do.
A domestic violence survivor