Working as a volunteer in women’s issues was the beginning of my steep learning curve in abuse and sexual violence. I started as a part of a local team working to establish a domestic violence shelter. That effort grew into purchasing a shelter, developing the program, establishing security protocols and fundraising. During the process, I attended trainings in dealing with victims of spouse abuse and continued victim trainings that included working with rape victims.
In a small town, there are no degrees of separation. The domestic violence victims coming for shelter attended my church. Their children were classmates of my children. I sometimes felt as though I knew every wife beater in town.
Often I would be approached by friends who confided in me that they had been rape victims in the past. Their stories were tragic. They had been victims of strangers, victims of date rape or victims of those they assumed would protect them. Yet each of these women moved on with life. They are successful in their current roles in the community, strong in character and willing to support others.
Women are heroes.