In Support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I would like to take time this month to honor those in our community who have endured trauma of this nature.
If you're not familiar, the Love Necklace Campaign is a one-for-one Giving Campaign where, for the purchase of every Love Necklace, a sister necklace is donated to a woman receiving care at a women's shelter, because, knowing that someone cares could make all the difference.
While my intention is to always remain confident about my work, one particular evening I was struggling with The Campaign. I was afraid that I was fighting an uphill battle and wondering if I should rethink and refocus my energy. I was lost, frustrated, and confused.
It was late at night, but a feeling in my gut persuaded me to check my email. I had received a Submission Form through my website. I opened the email. It was a message from a woman (I’ll call her Grace) who had been receiving care at Haven House in Belize City, the only full service women’s shelter in Belize. Grace explained to me that she had received a Love Necklace, the last one that the shelter had in stock. It had broken, but, she continued to explain, “I still guard it with my life because it represents the moment that I chose not to go back.”
“Of course I will repair it.” I replied.
It wasn't as simple as having her stop by the shelter to pick up a new one, and mailing her a new one wasn’t an option either. Grace lives in a small village about an hour from Belize City, and I live on an island that is about an hour and a half boat ride from Belize City. Neither of us had our own mode of transportation, but when there is a will, there is a way.
I informed the Director of the shelter and she helped us facilitate a meeting.
I hopped on the water taxi and Grace took the bus, her two young children in tow. We met in a common area near the water taxi station on a hot, Caribbean day. I had my tools with me and we sat on a picnic bench while I made a few small adjustments to her necklace so that she could wear it near her heart, once again. We only visited for about fifteen minutes before we went our separate ways, but our time together spoke volumes. Her journey to reach me, from her village and back, probably took up most of her day. Seeing what she was willing to do to have her Love Necklace repaired proved what she was willing to do to keep herself and her children safe.
It takes so much strength to seek help, and it takes so much strength to accept support. On average, a woman returns to an abusive relationship seven times before she finally seeks the help she deserves.
Those words are powerful, and Grace is a powerful woman.
She continues to connect with The Campaign, and on days when I wonder if this work is making a difference, a message from her miraculously pops up in my inbox.
Grace, if you are reading this post, please know that I honor you, I honor your strength, and I thank you for being a beacon of light.
My message to anyone who has had to endure an abusive relationship, whether it be physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive, you are strong, you are supported, you are loved.
Thank you to all who support this community.
With love and gratitude,