Two weeks ago when the media was buzzing about Ray Rice and the NFL’s domestic violence policy, or lack thereof, I was swarmed with emotion. As a survivor of domestic violence there were triggers of victim blaming and reminders of the humiliation and fear that came with the territory when others become a part of your intimate affairs. I was scared for the safety of Janay Palmer and hopeful that someone in her circle of support was able to protect her from a potentially very angry husband who had just been stripped of millions of dollars.
I was feeling powerless. Then the #WhyIStayed campaign hit Twitter. There was suddenly this shattering of silence that I had been hoping for. The victims and survivors of domestic violence were finding their own voices because of this incident. I had to do something. In tears I told my husband (a wonderful, supportive, feminist) that I had to do something, I just didn’t know what. Then it occurred to me. I didn’t need an advanced degree to help survivors and victims of domestic violence. I could do something NOW.
So here I am, planning a community candlelight vigil to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness month. It is my hope that we will have many people who are in need of a public forum to share their stories and in that sharing they will find healing. It takes a community to heal domestic violence and it takes a community to manifest change in an enabling society. I don’t have a promise that the event will be a huge success, but if I can reach just one person and give her a chance to speak out then I have achieved my goal. The goal isn’t lofty (yet). I’m burning the candle at both ends and letting inspiration and motivation guide me where it may. My voice and my vision is changing daily regarding this project and I am excited to see what October 6 brings! If you can help spread word about the event it will be even more successful!